Drivers in Massachusetts could get arrested for an operating under the influence (OUI) charge because they fail a breath test during a traffic stop or after a car crash. Displaying poor ability at the wheel might also lead to an officer arresting someone on suspicion of intoxication at the wheel.
Frequently, people rush to the conclusion that those arrested for an OUI offense in Massachusetts must be guilty. However, many people facing OUI charges successfully fight back in criminal court, and they may use one or more of the three strategies below to do so.
Presenting a medical explanation
There are numerous health issues that could affect how someone behaves while interacting with the police officer, their driving ability or their performance on impairment tests. From health issues that affect motor function and therefore performance on field sobriety tests to prescription medications that may affect the accuracy of breath testing, there could be numerous medical explanations for why someone may have seemed to be under the influence but was not.
Questioning test results
Chemical breath tests seem like a highly-scientific way to gather evidence of someone’s impairment, but they frequently produce inflated or false test results. Those who have had nothing to drink at all and those who have only had one or two drinks within a period of several hours could end up arrested for an OUI because of inaccurate test results. Some lawyers defend OUI clients by raising questions about the accuracy of the system overall or the calibration of a specific testing unit.
Challenging a traffic stop
Police officers need to have a legal justification for stopping someone in traffic and submitting them to scrutiny, such as breath testing or field sobriety tests. If officers do not have appropriate justification for a traffic stop, a defense attorney could potentially exclude the evidence gathered during the interaction from court proceedings.
There are other defense strategies that can work as well, but the three above are among the most common. Realizing that many people successfully fight back against OUI charges might motivate someone to seek legal guidance instead of simply pleading guilty because a conviction “feels” inevitable.