Like most states, Massachusetts takes drunk driving very seriously. Local police and Massachusetts State Troopers actively patrol our streets and highways in search of suspected drunk driving. What makes Massachusetts unique, however, is the protections afforded to those suspected of drunk driving (operating under the influence – OUI or driving under the influence – DUI). Those individuals that know how to protect themselves at a road side stop, will be able to ensure that they have the best defense at court.
If you find yourself pulled over for drunk driving, keep in mind the following:
- You are being investigated for having committed a criminal offense! As such, law enforcement is not there to help you. Instead, police and state troopers are there to determine whether you are committing an OUI or DUI. Everything you do or say can and will be used against you.
- You have a right NOT to submit to any breathalyzer analysis. Police or Massachusetts State Troopers cannot force you to blow into a breathalyzer machine, either on the road or back at the station. See Commonwealth v. Curley, 78 Mass. App. Ct. 163, 166-67 (2010) (“It is well settled that evidence of a defendant’s refusal to take a chemical breath test offered by a police officer is not admissible against him in a trial for operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor.”)
- You do NOT have to perform field sobriety tests.Police or Massachusetts State Troopers may ask or even order you to perform tests such as the “walk and turn” or “standing on one leg.” While you may not have the “right” to refuse, your refusal to perform these tests cannot be used against you at trial. See Commonwealth v. Blais, 428 Mass. 294, 299 (1998). (“[A] person’s refusal to perform these tests, like his refusals to turn over real evidence, may not, consistent with the privilege against self-incrimination in art. 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, be entered in evidence against that person.”)
- Hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. OUIs or DUIs are challenging matters that may have serious criminal consequences, such as probation, fines, and even incarceration. Make sure you get the necessary assistance to ensure that you are well represented during the entire process.