Dedham OUI Stops
Being pulled over on the suspicion of OUI is a relatively common occurrence. If you want to know more about Dedham OUI stops, speak with a knowledgeable OUI attorney that could answer your questions. A qualified lawyer could devote the time and resources necessary to build a person’s case.What Officers Look for Before Pulling People Over
Before pulling drivers over for Dedham OUI stops, officers looked for marked lanes violations such as crossing over the centerline or the fog line on the side of the road. They look for vehicle malfunctions such as broken tail lights or the driver not having their headlights on at night. They are also on the lookout for speeding or driving too slow. Any type of driving or mechanical failure of the car is a reason for the police to pull someone over.OUI Stop Process
During Dedham OUI stops, an officer may observe that a driver is operating erratically, and activates then initiate a stop by activating their lights. Once the driver pulls over, the officer approaches the driver and asks for their license and registration. The officer uses the license and registration to run the driving record to make sure the person's license is valid.
The officer may claim that they made an observation of slurred speech or bloodshot, glassy eyes. When that is the case, the officer asks the driver to get out of the car to perform field sobriety tests. Usually, the officer starts with a physical test such as the one-leg stand or the nine-step walk and turn.Field Sobriety Tests
Field sobriety tests are tests approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that determine whether someone is under the influence of alcohol. NHTSA states that poor performance on these tests correlates to breath test results of 0.08 or above. There are a series of physical tests that determine divided attention skills and balance. Dedham OUI field sobriety tests can be used as evidence in the state’s case against individuals charged with OUIs. Many people do not realize that they do not have to take the sobriety test if they do not want to, although refusal can have consequences as well. If an individual wants to know more about field sobriety tests and how they could affect their case, they should speak with a seasoned OUI attorney.Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test
In Massachusetts, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is used ty a law enforcement officer to get a reasonable suspicion for arrest. However, it is inadmissible at trial. The officer asks the driver to move their eyes to the right and left and determines whether the person follows directions and whether their eyes show movement which is known as nystagmus. Based on the results of the test, the officer determines whether they believe the person had too much to drink.Walk and Turn Test
One of the other Dedham OUI field sobriety tests is the walk and turn test. The walk and turn test in Massachusetts is known as the nine-step walk and turn. In the instruction phase, the officer asks the person to stand with their hands at their side and place one foot in front of the other touching heel to toe. The officer directs the person to not start until the officer finishes giving the instructions. The officer evaluates whether the person can keep their balance and does not start too soon. Once the test starts, the officer asks the person to walk out nine steps heel to toe in a straight line and make a pivot turn. The person walks back nine steps touching heel to toe in a straight line. Throughout the test, the person must count in order.One-Leg Stand Test
For the one-leg stand, the officer asks the person to stand with their feet together, their arms at their side, and not start too soon. Once the person asks the person to begin the test; the person raises their foot six inches off the ground and holds that position counting out loud for 30 seconds. The officer looks to see if the person swings, hops, puts their foot down, cannot count in order.Administration of Field Sobriety Tests
Dedham OUI field sobriety tests must be administered in a specific way. The officers are trained on how to perform the standardized tests. They have manuals and are supposed to instruct every person that takes the test in the same way. Law enforcement officers in Dedham are required to perform them as trained. The field sobriety tests are applied similarly throughout the country.Weight of Field Sobriety Tests at Trial
Dedham OUI field sobriety tests carry a lot of weight at a trial. The officers testify at trial to everything the person did or of that they did poorly on the test. However, through the training manuals, a defense attorney can show that there are numerous parts of the test to consider and that is a huge part of the trial because. If a police officer claims the person failed the test, often times the defense attorney can show that on the whole, the person did quite well on the test. If an individual wants to contest the accuracy of a field sobriety test, a diligent OUI attorney could help.
They may ask about verbal tests such as the ABCs or counting backwards. The officer may let the person go subject to the results of the tests. They may place the person under arrest and at the police station, they ask the person if they are willing to submit to a chemical breath test.
Dedham OUI breathalyzers are used by local law enforcement to gauge a driver’s level of impairment. The results of a breathalyzer carry serious weight in court and could make or break a person’s case. A common misconception about breathalyzers is that they are all reliable. Pending litigation shows that might not be the case.
Another misconception is that the person is required to take the breathalyzer. Individuals are allowed to refuse breathalyzer tests at any time. If you are someone who has been accused of an OUI, speak with a knowledgeable OUI lawyer that could answer any questions you may have about breathalyzers. An experienced attorney could help you challenge the results of your breathalyzer test.How is a Breath Test Administered?
When the breath test is administered at the booking station in Dedham, the police officer follows several steps. Upon arrival at the police station, the booking officer advises the person of their right to agree to take the breath test and the right to refuse the breath test.If a person decides to take the breath test, the officer is required to perform a 15-minute observation period prior to the person taking the breath test. This observation period is important because it ensures that the person does not introduce any contaminants into their breath. To make sure that that breath test is accurate, the officer should properly comply with the 15-minute observation period. After the observation period, the person submits two breath tests.
The breath test machine assumes certain variables such as breath temperature. So, if there is evidence that a person has a different temperature, then that can certainly show that the result is inaccurate for that specific person.
The machine in and of itself is unable to ascertain what type of alcohol is present. If a person recently drank cough syrup, that could certainly affect a breath test result, and that should be used by an OUI attorney in showing that the breath test result is false. A lot of rather innocuous things, like an inhaler or cough syrup, could artificially increase the result.Reliability of Breathalyzers
For years, breathalyzer results were routinely accepted by the court until a statewide appeal in 2015 when defense attorneys across Massachusetts brought a motion to question whether the machines were reliable.
Currently, an ongoing appeal shows that the breath tests may not be reliable and litigation is still pending at this point. Many of the breath tests were presumptively excluded and all of them are currently being stayed at this point until the court determines whether they are reliable.False Positives and Inaccurate BAC Scores
Some medical conditions such as Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause breath test results to be artificially high. GERD is a medical form of nearly constant heartburn caused by the regurgitation of the stomach acid. That can bring up the alcohol into a person’s mouth which causes a BAC that is higher than what would be in the person's blood.
Asthma can also affect breath test results and make them artificially high depending on whether the person uses their inhaler shortly before taking the test. Additionally, Dedham OUI breathalyzers can have errors.
They are supposed to be calibrated in a specific way. When they are not calibrated properly, the reading can be artificially high. Another technical reason is that the breath test could be inaccurate. The breathalyzer machine must be calibrated every 100 days. It must be annually certified and typically, they do comply with that processing in Dedham.Why Do Government Experts Continue to Rely on Breathalyzer Machines?
It is easy for the government to say the results are per se which means somebody is under the influence. It takes away some of the guesswork of field sobriety test, especially where field sobriety tests can be so subjective based on a person's age, size, and health. They want to stick by the standard that says a specific number means somebody is under the influence even though it is apparent that their machines are not as reliable as people think.Challenging Erroneous Breathalyzer Results in Court
Erroneous breathalyzer results can be challenged in court and potentially suppressed. The police officer must follow specific procedures prior to using Dedham OUI breathalyzers. An experienced defense lawyer could file a motion to suppress prior to trial if they believe the officers did not adhere to the protocols. Another way to suppress evidence is for technical reasons in the form of motions in limine on the trial date. The attorney can ask the judge to exclude the breath test if the Commonwealth does not bring in the necessary information to show that the breathalyzer machine is calibrated and annually certified. If an individual wants to challenge the results of their breath test in court, they should consult a qualified OUI lawyer that could help.
Before challenging a Dedham OUI breath test, it is important to know that there are two types of breath tests are used in Dedham. The portable breath test is used on the side of the road. While it is not used in every case; some police departments do have a portable breath test.
As a skilled OUI lawyer knows, the results from the portable breath test are inadmissible in court, so the results are not used against the person at trial. The other breath test is the formal breath test at the police station. The results from the formal breath test may be used at trial to establish the person’s blood alcohol content.Likelihood of Challenging a Dedham OUI Breath Test as a Defense
There are cases that are brought in Massachusetts that are between 0.05 and 0.08. The defense would certainly want to bring in that evidence showing that blood test or that breath test result under the legal limit. If there is something that can show an error with that machine, the defense would bring in that evidence as well.How Health Issues Can Alter Test Results
Diabetes can affect the breath test result. If somebody has a high blood sugar, that could artificially inflate the breath test. GERD, as well as any gastrointestinal types of disorders that are causing acid reflux, could result in the alcohol coming back up the esophagus. This could artificially impact the breath test by detecting alcohol coming back up from the system rather than the amount that is in the blood that comes out of the breath. People who have asthma are unable to produce the breath volume and sometimes the machine detects alcohol that is actually contained in the mucus that a person with asthma has in the back of their throat instead of actual lung breath that would determine a true blood alcohol result.Breath Test Device Requirements
There are a few requirements the machine must meet. It must be properly calibrated and annually certified. Any officer that operates the machine must be properly trained.The officers are required to monitor the 15-minute observation period and ensure that the person gives an adequate sample. They should make sure that the machine is certified and calibrated and the machine outputs an appropriate number.
The roadside breath test is not admissible at trial, so there is no opportunity to contest the roadside breath. Under Massachusetts law, the roadside breath test is not presumed to be scientifically valid.
When someone considers challenging a Dedham OUI breath test, they should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The attorney obtains a copy of the breath test and the booking video to verify that the officer complied with the 15-minute observation period. An attorney may review the breath test documents to make sure the test was administered properly and confirm that the machine is properly calibrated and certified.Important Information When Building an OUI Defense
A person should provide their attorney with any sort of information about ongoing medical conditions including asthma, GERD, or diabetes, and they should discuss with their defense attorney exactly what happened in the breath test and whether there is anything that they thought was unusual about the process or that they felt was unusual within their own body, or if they were experiencing any sort of illness at that time.Consenting to a Search
For a full search of the vehicle during the stop, the driver must give consent to a search. However, when a person is placed under arrest and the car is in an unsafe place, it is towed. There is an exception to the work requirement under the inventory search exception where a police officer can search the person’s car if it is going to be towed.
Massachusetts has an implied consent law that states when a person chooses to drive; they impliedly consent to take a breath test. Driving is not a right but a privilege in Massachusetts. As a driver in Massachusetts, a person is impliedly consenting to take a breath test when an officer has reason to believe that the person is operating under the influence of alcohol. There is a greater penalty for a refusal to consent to the breath test because of the implied consent law. In a first offense OUI, if a person fails the breath test, they receive a 30-day suspension. However, if the person refuses to take the breath test, they have a six months license suspension.Rights During an OUI Stop
Contrary to what many believe, individuals do have certain rights during Dedham OUI stops. One of the most important things to remember is that at any point during a DUI stop, an individual can ask to speak with an attorney.
People have Miranda rights as well, but those rights are only required when the officer interrogates a person who is in custody. An officer is not required to read Miranda rights until the driver is in custody and the officer is asking questions that are likely to elicit inculpatory or negative details.
A person also has the right to refuse to take a field sobriety test. They have the right to remain silent and the right to refuse the breathalyzer test. However, there may be consequences for refusing testing. If an individual wants to know more about their rights during OUI stops, they should consult a knowledgeable attorney that could answer their questions.