Challenging Massachusetts DUI Roadblocks
When you are charged with a Massachusetts DUI as a result of a roadblock or sobriety checkpoint, your case will proceed through the court as follows. At the pretrial conference, the Commonwealth will have to provide your Massachusetts OUI lawyer with the State police plan for how the roadblock was to be administered. These documents will contain the following information:
- The State police’ plan as to how motorist shall be greeted at the roadblock, provisions for public safety, and the method used to administer the roadblock.
- The data that justifies the selection of the site; according to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, it is only proper to administer a roadblock in an area that has prior problems with DUI related arrests and accidents. In order to have a compelling State interest to justify detaining a motorist without reasonable suspicion, the Commonwealth has to show that the area where the roadblock is being conducted has a high number of drunk driving related arrests.
- Documentation showing public notice of the roadblock. This consists of the documentation that the State police notified various news agencies that a roadblock was being administered. The notification will not have the precise location of the roadblock but will have the date and times that the police will conduct the roadblock
At the road block the officer alleged that the client had alcohol in the car, slurred his speech, had bloodshot eyes, and failed a number of field sobriety tests. The Commonwealth, relying on a new case, tried to admit the defendant's attempt to take a breath test; the Court ultimately denied the Commonwealth's request to admit the refusal into evidence. During cross examination, Attorney DelSignore highlighted that the officer failed to put in the police report how long the defendant had his leg up nor did he put in the report any heal to toe steps that were missed on the nine step walk and turn. After trial in the Malden District Court the defendant was found not guilty on the OUI charge.
Mr. DelSignore was excellent and was able to produce a not-guilty verdict. Even though he thought my case was fairly straightforward, he worked tirelessly to address every nuance of it.
The case involved a DUI checkpoint. He was clearly familiar with previous cases and was able to address every facet of the DA's argument. From the beginning, he was aware of where to begin and how to structure his argument from the setup of the checkpoint itself to the police reports. He exhausted every option and even attempted a pre-trial motion to have the roadblock deemed invalid. In addition, he prepared for the worst-case scenario and was even ready to go through an appeal if need be.
Mr. DelSignore was even kind enough to take a case ahead of mine on the docket pro-bono to speed along the process. Even if you feel like communication might be an issue, know that Michael is working for you benefit all the time. The process is lengthy, but he stuck with it regardless.
Highly recommend. Thanks again Mike!
-Recent client testimonial
To challenge a Massachusetts DUI roadblock, the case is set down for a motion to suppress hearing. At this hearing the Commonwealth needs to present the testimony of the police officers involved in your initial detention and the officers who devised the roadblock to establish that is was conducted according to a State police plan.
A motion hearing is like a mini-trial with the issues confined to whether the Commonwealth can establish that Massachusetts DUI law was complied with in running and establishing the roadblock. The officers involved in the roadblock will testify and your attorney is allowed an opportunity to cross examine them.
Attorney DelSignore has successfully defended numerous Massachusetts DUI arrests involving roadblocks and sobriety checkpoints. Call to learn the defenses to your case at 781-686-5924.
For further reading, visit our educational website for client reviews and to learn more about the court process if you have been charged with OUI after being arrested at a roadblock.