An operating under the influence charge in Massachusetts is a criminal offense, which is usually handled in District Court. Some of the more severe OUI offenses are handled in Superior Court in Massachusetts. During the court process, you must go through numerous steps before there can be a final decision or resolution in your case.
The first step in the court process is an Arraignment. Anyone charged with any crime will be given a date where they must appear in court. The same goes for an OUI charge because it is a crime. The Arraignment is the court appearance where the court will formally inform you of the charges against you. at this proceeding, a Not Guilty plea will be entered on your behalf. Additionally, the court will determine what bail should be set in your case and who your attorney will be. Here, the court will decide whether to release you on personal recognizance (your promise to follow all federal and state laws and return to court), to set a cash bail, or impose conditions on you being released on bail. After the Arraignment, you are usually given a Pretrial Conference date to come back to court.
The next step is the pre-trial conference, usually scheduled 4-8 weeks after your arraignment depending on the court. This initial period is called the discovery period and it allows us to gather all materials related to your case, hire an investigator, if necessary, formulate a strategy/case theory, and keep you informed about any updates. At the Law Office of David Ellison, we pride ourselves on being transparent and accessible to our clients. So during this discovery period, you will receive all your case materials as we get them.
Furthermore, the pre-trial conference is essentially a way for both the defense attorney and the prosecutor to ensure they have all the case materials and discovery. Additionally, this is where both parties have the chance to either obtain any additional information needed or try to agree to a possible resolution for the case. That possible resolution could be a plea in the case. Lastly, there is not just one pre-trial conference; there can be numerous.
MOTION TO SUPPRESS HEARING:
The next step would be a motion hearing. There are plenty of motions, but the most important is the motion to suppress potential evidence in the case. A Motion to Suppress is when you ask the court to suppress evidence against you because your rights were violated. If you are successful at a Motion to Suppress, the prosecution can't use that evidence against you at trial.
The last step in the court process is a trial. An OUI trial is usually relatively short and only lasts about a day or two. The trial can be a bench trial, which is a trial in front of a judge who decides whether you are not guilty or guilty. The trial can be a jury trial where a jury consisting of people from the community determine whether or not you are guilty and a judge only presides over legal issues. For both a bench trial and a jury trial the prosecution must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They must prove each of the elements of an OUI. Furthermore, the kind of trial you should choose if you get to this step all depends on the facts of your case and the evidence against you.
If you are charged with an OUI, you do not have to fight your case alone in court. You can have an experienced Massachusetts OUI lawyer represent you along the way. Attorney Ellison has represented numerous clients on OUI charges throughout his career. You can contact him today.