What to do if you are stopped for suspicion of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol/OUI in Massachusetts
Know Your Rights
It is also your right to say “no” to a portable breath test (PBT) or field sobriety tests. This is the way the police officer will gain probable cause that you are drinking and driving. Don’t give them evidence against you. Instead, know and exercise your constitutional rights. In most cases, the fact that you refused a field sobriety test cannot be used against you in court. If the officer does arrest you or ask you to take a breathalyzer test or blood alcohol test, you can still refuse. The consequence will usually be a driver’s license suspension. However, if you are not convicted of a OUI, the suspension can often be reversed.Whether you are innocent or guilty, it is normal to be stressed during a OUI traffic stop.
People are often afraid it will look bad if they don’t cooperate, so they tell the police far too much. The truth is you don’t have to say a word. It is your constitutional right to stay silent, even if your Miranda rights are not read. This typically does not occur until an officer intends to make an arrest. Before that time, the officer will do anything he can to get you to incriminate yourself. But without the evidence you give him, an officer will have no probable cause for arrest. Always stay calm and polite. Respectfully, tell the officer your name and address. Then, say “I will not give anymore information until my attorney is present.” This is just one of many ways to protect yourself in a drunk driving investigation.
Police officers have a close relationship with prosecutors and are well-trained in interrogation techniques. They may appear friendly or docile in an effort to get your guard down so you admit your own guilt to help them build their case. They might tell you that you won’t serve jail time if you simply confess. This is simply not true.. A judge is the only one who determines sentencing. While it is perfectly legal for a police officer to lie, it can be devastating to your case if you lie to an officer.
Most states require an arresting officer to observe a driver for 15 minutes before giving a breath test. However, this step is often overlooked. Many officers may even lack probable cause for the traffic stop. Often they will cut corners during field sobriety tests or ask questions that violate a citizen’s rights. If you avoid self-incrimination, a skilled attorney can use police error to have evidence excluded from trial or possibly obtain a dismissal.
If you are charged with a OUI, it is crucial to remain calm. Find an attorney with experience in OUI cases. The police do not want you to know your rights. If you or a loved one has been charged with OUI, I invite you to contact me for a free consultation. Please contact me at 978-792-5035.