OUI Drugs in Massachusetts

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OUI Drugs Criminal Defense Attorney

What is an OUI Drugs?

OUI Drugs charges are very common in Massachusetts and are far more difficult for a prosecutor to prove than OUI Liquor. OUI Drugs is very similar to OUI Liquor since the prosecution has to prove the same 3 elements. Those elements are:

  1. That you operated a motor vehicle,
  2. on a public way, or a place that the public has access to, and
  3. that you did so while under the influence.

Obviously, the main difference between an OUI Drugs charge and an OUI Liquor charge is the presence of a drug instead of alcohol. The terms "drugs" does not only mean an illicit substance like cocaine or heroin, but can include any number of substances that can affect your ability to drive safely. This means that you can be charged with being under the influence of a prescription medication that you take regularly.

What do the Prosecutors Need to Prove?

Unlike in OUI Liquor cases, there is no scientific test that can reliably pinpoint a substance that a person is actively under the influence of. In an OUI Drugs case the prosecution needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of a specific substance. It is not enough that they show that you operated a vehicle in an unsafe way or that you were apparently under the influence of something. If the prosecution cannot prove what specific drug you were under the influence of then they cannot prove their case.

This usually means that the prosecution must rely on your own admissions in order to prove an OUI Drugs charge. Prosecutors will also rely on any drugs found at the time of arrest or a pill bottle found in the car for instance. Prosecutors will also usually call in a Drug Recognition Expert (or DRE) to testify at trial.

What is a DRE?

Every police department has officers on call who have special training as DREs. Because drugs are more complicated than alcohol and effect the body in many different ways, a regular officer does not have the expertise to link observations, like slurred speech or pinpointed pupils, to a particular class of substance (opiate, amphetamine, benzodiazepine, etc...). A DRE is usually qualified and is therefore required to make these links in an OUI Drugs case. The DRE is usually called in after an arrest to interview the suspect at the police station, including asking for the suspect to provide a urine sample. They then write a report concluding which type of substance the suspect is under the influence of. Without the testimony of an expert witness, like a DRE, an OUI Drugs case is incredibly difficult to prove.

Potential Punishment

OUI Drugs and OUI Liquor share the same maximum penalties - 2 1/2 years in jail, however, only the most severe cases will ever be sentenced to any jail time. A first offense OUI Drugs is treated the exact same as a first offense OUI Liquor. You can expect:

  • a non-conviction CWOF (for a plea)
  • 12 months of probation
  • 16 week alcohol/drug education class
  • a 45 to 90 day loss of license
  • $2500 total in court fees and fines

Subsequent offenses are also the same for OUI Liquor. Further, if you have a conviction for OUI Liquor and then later get charged with OUI Drugs, the OUI Drugs charge will be treated as a second offense.

Free Consultation on Any Massachusetts Criminal Charges

The attorneys of Equitas Law have won many OUI Drugs cases across the state. We have gotten first, second, and even third offense OUI Drugs charges dismissed prior to trial, and secured Not Guilty verdicts for our clients at trial. If you need an attorney who will fight for you, who knows how to attack a DREs qualifications, contact Equitas Law for a FREE consultation.

If you would like to speak about your case and get an expert opinion, please call or text us at any time.  We will listen to the facts of your case, address your concerns and let you know what your options are.

The initial consultation is free and there is no pressure to hire.  If you choose to hire us, we will give you a reasonable quote and we can discuss payment options.

Criminal Defense FAQ

We Hope This Helps!

NO, you shouldn't! At least not without a lawyer after careful consideration.

Think about it. The police have a job, which is to solve crimes and bring criminal charges. The onlyreason for them to call you is because they are looking for evidence and there is no better evidence than your statement. Very often, they are calling you because they don't have enough evidence to charge you yet and they're looking to make their case with your statements.

They are not your friends. They are not trying to help you. There is nothing to "clear up". They will not go away if you just admit it and take responsibility.

Seriously, don't speak to the police without consulting a criminal defense lawyer first.

First, unless you have committed a very serious crime, the chances of you going to jail are minimal (especially if you hire a good attorney). In any event, this is not something that typically would happen until many months down the road.

We're not going to lie to you, if the prosecution can meet the burden of proof on your case, there will be consequences, ranging from a slap on the wrist to jail time. Our job is to minimize the consequences and to eliminate them, if possible.

Of course, this depends on the charges, your criminal history and many other factors, so please feel free to reach out and we can give you a more specific answer.

No, no, no, no no! Even if you decide to eventually take responsibility, your lawyer should negotiate the best deal possible. What this means depends entirely the circumstances of your criminal charge, but very often you can take responsibility and still avoid a permanent criminal record. It may also involve:

  • Pre-Trial Probation or Pre-Trial Diversion
  • An outright Dismissal of your charges upon payment of court costs
  • A Continuation Without a Finding, including the length and terms of your probation (after which the case is dismissed)
  • A period of straight probation without a jail or state prison sentence
  • A suspended sentence, where a sentence is imposed, but not served unless probation is violated
  • A lesser sentence to jail or prison and less severe conditions upon release

This is to say nothing of the fact that your case may be winnable on a motion to dismiss or at trial!

In many cases, yes. Some cases have issues that may justify a Motion to Suppress or a Motion to Dismiss for lack of evidence.

Others can and should be taken to trial, or call for a plea as soon as possible so the client can move on with their life.

The decision on what to do really depends on the facts of the case and your individual goals.

This is why it is important to speak to an experienced Massachusetts criminal attorney who can quickly evaluate your specific case to see if there are any issues worth pursuing.

Related Content:

Strategy and Potential Issues in Massachusetts Criminal Cases

It is very possible that you can avoid a criminal record, especially if you don't have a significant criminal history and and it is a relatively minor offense.

The answer to this question is very case-specific, depending on the facts of your case and what we decide to do with it.

A vast majority of our criminal cases cases are handled on a flat fee basis, ranging from a clerk-magistrate's hearing to superior court or federal court cases.

All we can tell you is that we are always up front and honest, and will treat you fairly. We're also willing to work with you on payments if we can, as this is not all about the money.

Of course, it is prefereable to have an attorney at the arraignment, but don't panic! First, you can call or text me at any time and I may be able to be there. If not, take a look at this link for all the information you need:

Arraignment in Massachusetts – What You Need to Know.

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