Can I be charged with operating under the influence if I was not driving?

In some Massachusetts OUI arrests, police will arrive at the scene when a motorist is outside of the vehicle and when there is no evidence of operation. Many think that if the police do not see you drive then the Commonwealth will not be able to prove operation.

Unfortunately, that is incorrect. While it may be more difficult for the Commonwealth to prove that you were operating the vehicle, this element can still be established. One way the Commonwealth will attempt to establish is through statements that you may have made to the police, such as admissions of driving. If there is an admission, then a Massachusetts OUI lawyer can attempt to exclude the statement from evidence or if the statement comes in to evidence argue that that admission is not enough to prove that element of the offense. In Massachusetts, an admission alone is not enough to prove a criminal charge of drunk driving.

Other ways the Commonwealth will attempt to prove operation include, whether the vehicle was registered to you or not, whether you are the only person in the area where an accident occurred and where the vehicle is located. In these cases, the Commonwealth can argue that circumstantially there is evidence of operation as you are the owner of the vehicle, no other drivers are in the location and the vehicle could not have gotten to that location other than operation. In many cases, operation will not be the most effective defense; however, it does come up as a defense to Massachusetts DUI charges and should be explored as a possible defense to the charge.

Even if the Commonwealth is able to prove operation, if there is no evidence of erratic driving or no testimony regarding any accident or cause of an accident, it would be a more difficult case for the Commonwealth to prove that you were under the influence of alcohol as evidence of erratic driving may be missing.

If you have any questions about the legal definition of operation of a motor vehicle in a Massachusetts OUI charge, call Attorney Delsignore at 781-686-5924 or 508-455-4755.

Client Reviews
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Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him
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A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
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Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
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Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! Either him or his partner Julie was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
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I cannot express the gratitude towards both Michael and Julie for their amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael and Julie over and over again. Claire
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