How long does it take to get at trial date on a Massachusetts OUI charge?
One common question asked by many charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts is: how long will the case take?
A Massachusetts OUI will generally take at least four or five months if you are contesting the case at trial. You could receive a trial date sooner depending on the court and the circumstances of the case. If you are admitting to the charge, it can be resolved much sooner; however, it is important to have all the information pertaining to the case prior to attempting to work on any plea agreement.
There are three reasons why it takes time to prepare an OUI case for trial.
First, you will not have all of the information, referred to as discovery in court from the prosecutor, after the arraignment date, your first court date. The Court will then schedule a pretrial conference hearing which severe to ensure that all of the information pertaining to your case is turned over. Generally, there is between a 4 and 8 week gap between court dates.
Second, in many cases it will be in your best interest to pursue an evidentiary motion which will result in another court date and will make the case take longer to resolve. Of course, you do not have to pursue an evidentiary motion, but in most cases in order to prepare the best defense possible it is worth taking every opportunity to learn more about the government’s case, to assert your constitutional rights, rather than rushing the case to trial. This motion hearing typically helps the preparation of the case for trial.
The third reason it takes time to get a trial date because other cases may take priority over your case. When your case is scheduled for trial, it will not be the only case scheduled for trial that day. There will be, depending on the court, as few as 4 or as many as 12 cases scheduled for trial that day. The court considers various factors in deciding which case to reach first.
- The older case has priority over a newer case;
- Individuals who are in custody receive the top priority for trial
- The seriousness of the offense is also considered. An OUI offense, especially a first offense, will be ranked very low in terms of its seriousness. In other words, if a gun, sex, drug or domestic case is ready for trial, a judge may decide to hear that case first as its is considered a more serous offense than a first offense OUI.
- Any second, third or fourth offense OUI would also likely be heard prior to a first offense case being reached.
Given all these other factors that come into play, it is difficult to predict how soon your case will be reached for trial. Typically, the best strategy is to be patient and pursue all your legal defenses, so that when your case is reached for trial, you have exhausted all of your legal defenses and have had the opportunity to fully investigate the case.
It is also important to understand that once the 6 months suspension for any breath test refusal or the 30 days suspension for failing the breath test expire, you can get your license back even if the case is still in Court. The RMV will reinstate your license upon the payment of the $500 reinstatement fee.
If you have any questions on how long it takes to defend a Massachusetts OUI charge, feel free to call me at 781 686 5924 or you can download my free book to learn more about how these cases are handled in court.