Can I be arrested in my home and charged with OUI in Massachusetts?
Although it is not common, I have had Massachusetts OUI arrests where the police have gone to someone’s house and have taken them out of their home in order to make an OUI arrest. This typically happens in a case where there is a report of an accident; the police run the license plate and find the address of the person they believe to have been in the accident. Often, the officers will knock on the door and demand the person step outside to speak to them or in some cases the officer will go into the house to remove the person for the purpose of conducting a drunk driving investigation.
The law is very clear that the police may not enter a home without a warrant for a misdemeanor offense, which a Massachusetts first and second offense OUI is a misdemeanor offense.
There is a case from the United States Supreme Court called Welch vs. Wisconsin which addresses this very issue. In this case the court held that the warrant requirement precludes a police officer from entering a home for a misdemeanor offense. There is another case from Massachusetts directly addressing this issue. However, police still attempt to circumvent the fourth amendment by entering a home without a warrant. When this happens the case is very defendable regardless of any other evidence in the case because if the initial arrest was unlawful, all evidence should be suppressed as a fruit of the unlawful seizure of the individual. Though this issue does not come up frequently, I have had two cases addressing this issue and in both cases was able to challenge the seizures being unlawful under the fourth amendment. Both clients avoid drunk driving convictions, despite one case involving failed breathalyzer test results and failed field sobriety tests.
If you are arrested in your home and charged with a Massachusetts OUI offense you are likely to have a very strong case for a motion to suppress which would result in you having your OUI charge being dismissed. To discuss your case you can call Attorney Delsignore at 781-686-5924 or 508-455-4755.