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OUI Drugs Massachusetts Lawyer

Alcohol is not the only substance that can cause you to get an OUI (Operating Under the Influence) in Massachusetts. You can also get an OUI from any controlled substance enumerated by state law, including marijuana. If you are charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) of Drugs in Massachusetts, it can be a very overwhelming and challenging time in your life. If you are looking for legal representation during this trying time, you can contact Attorney David Ellison, who has represented many people on charges of Operating Under the Influence of Drugs. David is an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney who has represented clients for OUI charges at jury trials, bench trials, motions to suppress, negotiations with prosecutors and license suspension issues at the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV).

HOW CAN AN OUI BE ALCOHOL OR DRUGS?

Massachusetts law defines an OUI as anyone that operates a motor vehicle and has a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher, or anyone who drives while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulants, or the smelling or inhaling the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24. Additionally, “narcotic drugs, depressants, or stimulants” are substances defined under the Massachusetts Controlled Substances Act. Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 94C, § 31. The penalties for OUI alcohol and OUI drugs are the same.

WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES FOR OUI DRUGS IN MASSACHUSETTS? 

OUI - First Offense – Penalties 

  • Up to 2 and a half year in the House of Correction
  • 1 year License Suspension 
  • Fine between $500 and $5,000
  • Mandatory Fees
  • Potential criminal conviction

OUI - Second Offense - Penalties

  • Not less than 60 days and up to 2 and a half years in the House of Correction 
  • Fines between $600 and $10,000
  • 2 year License Suspension 
  • 2 years of Ignition interlock installed in your car after the license suspension
  • Mandatory Fees
  • Potential Criminal Conviction 

OUI - Third Offense - Penalties

  • Not less than 180 days and up to 2 and a half years in the House of Correction or up to 5 years in State Prison
  • 8 year License Suspension 
  • Fine between $1,000 and $15,000
  • Mandatory Fees
  • Potential Felony Conviction 

OUI - Fourth Offense - Penalties

  • Not less than 2 years and up to 2 and a half years in the House of Correction or up to 5 years in State Prison
  • 10 year License Suspension 
  • Fine between $1,500 and $25,000
  • Mandatory Fees
  • Potential Felony Conviction 

OUI - Fifth and Subsequent Offense - Penalties

  • Mandatory 2 and a half years in the House of Correction or up to 5 years in State Prison
  • Lifetime License Revocation 
  • Fine between $2,000 and $50,000
  • Mandatory Fees
  • Potential Felony Conviction 

WHAT DOES THE PROSECUTION HAVE TO SHOW FOR AN OUI DRUGS CHARGE?

For you to be found guilty and convicted for OUI drugs, the prosecution must prove that:

  1. You were operating a motor vehicle;
  2. You did so on a public way (this can be anywhere where the public has a right of access or have access as invitees or licensees);
  3. You were under the influence of drugs. 

Additionally, the Massachusetts Controlled Substances Act is essential for an OUI drugs charge because the prosecution must prove that you were under the influence of one of the controlled substances enumerated in that statute. 

Furthermore, the prosecution is not required to prove that you were actually driving in an unsafe or erratic manner, instead it must prove that you had a diminished capacity or ability to drive safely.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “UNDER THE INFLUENCE” OF A DRUG?

Someone is “under the influence” of a drug whenever he or she has consumed or taken enough of that drug to reduce his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely by diminishing their alertness, judgement, and ability to respond promptly. 

HOW WILL THEY BE ABLE TO PROVE THAT I WAS “UNDER THE INFLUENCE” OF A DRUG?

The commonwealth will ask you to submit to standardized field sobriety tests, portable breathlyzer tests, a breathlyzer test, and even a blood test. If you refuse to submit to any of those tests then the prosecution can submit things like your appearance, condition, and behavior at the time of the incident as evidence to try and prove that your ability to drive was impaired. Commonwealth v. Johnson, 59 Mass. App. Ct. 164, 172 (2003).

IS IT BAD IF I FAILED THE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS?

Not necessarily, it is on a case by case basis. These field sobriety tests or roadside assessments are not scientific tests created to test someones potential impairment by a drug. Additionally, you may have difficulty performing these tasks for many reasons that are unrelated to the consumption of a drug, such as, having a prior injury to your leg. However, this does not mean that they are useless, the jury will ultimately decide whether or not the "failure" of the field sobriety tests indicates that your ability to drive a motor vehicle was impaired by a drug. Lastly, evidence from your performance of field sobriety tests, standing alone—with no other evidence—is not enough to convict you for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of a drug.

WHAT WILL THE JURY LOOK AT WHEN DETERMINING WHETHER MY FAILURE OF THE FIELD SOBRIETY TEST INDICATED AN IMPAIRMENT?

The jury will look at things such as your balance, coordination, mental clarity, ability to retain and follow directions, ability to perform tasks requiring divided attention, and other skills that a jury may find relevant to the safe operation of a motor vehicle. They will also look at what the officer asked you to do, the circumstances under which they were given and performed, and all of the other evidence in the case to determine whether or not the failure of the field sobriety tests should be hold any weight in the determination of the case. 

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM CHARGED WITH OUI DRUGS?

If you are charged with OUI Drugs, you do not have to fight the charges alone. You can have an experienced Massachusetts OUI lawyer represent you on the charges. Attorney David Ellison is an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer who has represented numerous clients on OUI Drugs charges in his career. If you are charged with OUI Drugs, do no hesitate to contact Attorney Ellison today at 401-230-5520. 

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When you hire Attorney David Ellison, not only are you getting a skilled, experienced, and aggressive lawyer in your corner, but you're getting a lawyer who understands the importance of empathy, honesty, and trustworthiness. Attorney Ellison is a lawyer who loves to advocate for you.

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