If you are caught driving with a blood alcohol level of more than .08 percent in Boston, you will be arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI. It’s important to hire a Boston DUI attorney to help you prepare your defense to DUI; DUI laws are complex, and you don’t want to risk major jail time or other major consequences of a conviction.
Implied Consent Law
Massachusetts has an implied consent law; if you get behind the wheel, the law presumes you’ve consented to chemical sobriety tests at any time while you’re driving. That means that you do not have the right to refuse a blood or breath test of your blood alcohol content level.
In practical terms, the implied consent law means that there are consequences to refusing to take a sobriety test when asked to do so by police. If you refuse a test, you will be arrested on suspicion of DUI, your license will be suspended for at least 120 days and you will have to pay a fine. However, the state cannot use your refusal to take a test against you in court. In other words, the prosecution can’t use your refusal as evidence that you were drunk. Your Boston DUI lawyer can help you contest the license suspension as well as defend you against DUI charges.
Consequences of DUI
If you are convicted of DUI in Boston, you’ll face serious legal consequences. First-time offenders serve up to 30 months in jail, attend an alcohol treatment program, lose their license for a year, and pay fines of up to $5,000. If you are convicted of a second DUI within seven years, you’ll lose your license for at least a year and must install an ignition interlock device in your car as well as pay fines. Fines and penalties go up with each conviction, which is why it’s important to get the best defense possible against DUI and voluntarily get help if you believe you have an alcohol problem.
Child Endangerment and DUI
It’s especially important to get help if you had a child in the car with you at the time you were arrested for DUI. In Massachusetts, driving under the influence while transporting a child under the age of 14 is considered child endangerment. This serious charge can add a jail sentence of up to 2 1/2 years to your penalties for DUI as well as require you to pay extra fines and lose your license for a longer period of time. A conviction for child endangerment can also interfere with your ability to be hired for jobs involving child care, such as teaching or working in a day care center.
Defenses to DUI
Your attorney will go over your case with you to determine the best defense. The most common defense for DUI involves questioning whether the police had the right to stop your vehicle in the first place. If there was no probable cause to stop you, the DUI case may be thrown out. In addition, if you took a chemical test, your attorney may question the validity of that test.
DUI is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Consequences of a DUI will affect your entire life- you could lose your freedom to drive, have to pay fines, and possibly serious jail time. Hire an attorney as soon as possible so you are well prepared and have the best chance of defense on your case.
Katie Hewatt is a law student who enjoys writing on legal topics. As a contributing writer for the Boston Attorney, Tracy D. Dudevoir, she likes to emphasize the importance of being aware of DUI laws that pertain to each state.
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