Court Process When Charged With a Massachusetts OUI
Click to learn What to Expect at Court when Arrested for OUI in Massachusetts for the First Time
An OUI charge is a misdemeanor offense that is heard in district court. There is a process for moving an OUI charge through the court system and it involves the following court events:
1. Arraignment Date: When you are charged with operating under the influence in Massachusetts, sometimes referred to as OUI/DUI or DWI, you will be given a court date for an arraignment. The arraignment is when you are formally advised of the charges against you and the court determines whether to release you on your promise to return to court on the pretrial date, or whether to set cash bail or to impose conditions of release.
Bail is generally not required for a first or second OUI so if you have little or no record and are charged with a 1st or 2nd offense OUI, you will generally be released without having to post cash bail on your promise to appear in court.*
2. Pre-trial conference: The pretrial conference will be scheduled within 4 - 6 weeks of the arraignment date. The pretrial conference is to ensure that you have all the information about your case; it is an opportunity to obtain additional information from the prosecutor and discuss possible resolution of the case.
There may be more than one pretrial conference; in some cases, 2 or 3 pretrial hearings may be required as a result of delays from the district attorney's office in providing information.
3. Motions: The officer will testify at this hearing, as the aim is to limit the extent of evidence being used in the case against you.
- One possible motion is a motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the stop being in violation of your Constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment and Article 14 of the Massachusetts State Constitution. The basis of this motion is that the officer did not have a legal basis to stop your vehicle under the Constitution. If this motion is successful, the case will get dismissed. Even if it is unsuccessful, the motion generally reveals valuable discovery as it provides a preview of the officer's testimony.
- A second type of motion is a motion to suppress statements obtained in violation of your Miranda Rights. This motion generally will not result in the dismissal of the case, but often strengths your defense if successful by precluding the Commonwealth from being able to offer into evidence statements either during the field sobriety tests or at booking that will help the Government's case.
If you were arrested for OUI in Massachusetts, you can set up an appointment to discuss your case at 781-686-5924. Alternatively, download a copy of Michael DelSignore’s book designed to help you further understand Massachusetts OUI laws.
Click here to download a free copy of "Understanding Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws
4. Trial: The next step is to set a trial date. In an OUI trial, the trial typically takes only one day and is before either a judge or a jury. Depending on the facts of the case and the judge, sometimes a bench trial offers a defendant a better opportunity to obtain an acquittal. Only after careful evaluation of all the evidence can this important decision be made as to whether to proceed with a trial before a jury or judge.
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