Things to Know if Charged with a Boston DUI
Whether you live in Cambridge, Hyde Park or Mission Hill, if you are charged with being a Boston drunk driver, you will want to know the basics of Boston DUI law.
This article will explain things you need to know if charged with a Boston DUI. In addition, it will also help you understand how to hire a Boston DUI attorney.
What Is a Boston DUI?
In Boston, the offense commonly referred to as DUI, or driving under the influence, is officially known as OUI. OUI stands for operating under the influence and is technically the same offense as a DUI.
There are two ways to be charged with committing a Boston OUI.
The first is known as drunk driving per se. Drunk driving per se is when your blood-alcohol limit (BAC) is .08 or above. This means that your blood has an alcohol content of eight one-hundredths of a percent.
The other way to be charged with a Boston DUI is if your BAC is .06 or .07. Under Boston DUI laws, if your BAC is .06 or greater but less than .08, you can be arrested for impaired driving. The prosecution will then have to prove in court you were impaired at the time of the arrest. Usually the arresting officer will testify as to any physical signs of impairment you exhibited.
The Boston DUI Process
An officer can pull your vehicle over for a number of reasons. You may have broken a traffic law, such as speeding or running a red light. You may have been driving through a sobriety checkpoint. These are predetermined areas where police officers pull over random drivers to check them for drunk driving.
You may also have been driving erratically. For example, you may have stopped at a green light or taken an extra wide turn. This type of suspicious behavior gives police officers sufficient reason to pull you over.
Once you are pulled over, the officer may administer a field sobriety test. The usual battery of field sobriety tests includes:
- Standing on one leg with the other foot six inches off the ground
- Walking in a straight line, turning and walking back
- Following a light with your eyes without moving your head or neck
If you do poorly on the field sobriety test, an officer will have probable cause to arrest you. He may then take you back to the police station for a BAC test.
There are several different kinds of BAC tests. Officers may take a sample of your blood to test your BAC. They may also request that you breath into a breathalyzer.
A breathalyzer is a device that can determine your BAC based on the contents of your breath.
If you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test, or any other BAC test, your license may be automatically suspended immediately.
Boston DUI Punishments
A first offense for DUI in Boston can land you in jail for up to two-and-a-half years. You may also have to pay fines ranging from $500 to $5,000. The court may also suspend your driver's license for a year. For your first offense, you can get your Boston OUI sentence reduced by enrolling in a state-approved alcohol education program.
A second offense entails a sentence of a minimum of 30 days in jail up to two-and-a-half years. Fines increase to a range of $600 to $10,000. And the court may now suspend your driver's license for up to two years.
Receiving more than two Boston DUI offenses is considered a felony. If you commit a third OUI offense, you may face anywhere from 150 days in jail to five years. Fines range from $1,000 to $15,000. You may also have your license suspended for eight years.
Hiring a Boston DUI Attorney
You will want to hire a Boston DUI attorney to represent you throughout your DUI case.
First, seek out names of prospective DUI attorneys. If you are incarcerated or are unable to conduct a search on your own, find someone you can trust to help you with the search.
Ask friends and family members for referrals. Ask them if they have used a Boston-area OUI attorney in the past. Another option is to use a site like Attorneys.com. Just fill out the site's online questionnaire, and Attorneys.com will connect you with at least one Boston DUI attorney in your area.
Next, set up initial consultations with any attorney you are interested in hiring. During this preliminary meeting, ask a number of questions. Questions to ask include:
- How long has the attorney been handled Boston OUI cases ?
- Are drunk driving cases the only matters he works on?
- Has the attorney ever handled a case like yours?
- What fee arrangement does he use?
- Can he provide an estimate of his costs?
- If you have a question, how can you reach the attorney?
After you have consulted with the attorneys, you should be able to make an informed hiring decision.