If you are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), the next steps depend on a few factors: the number of times you have committed the crime, the severity of the case, and whether you agreed or disagreed to take a breathalyzer test during the arrest. Each outcome will most likely result in fees, license suspension, or jail time.
The best course of action is to hire an experienced DUI attorney who specializes in DUI defense and can help you lessen the consequences of your case by fighting for you in court.
In Massachusetts, law enforcement sobriety or DUI checkpoints are standard. This results in most DUI arrests in the state. The law permits police to randomly stop vehicles without evidence of them being impaired. This is designed to lessen the number of intoxicated drivers on the road for the safety of pedestrians.
If you are pulled over and arrested for a DUI, you will be booked and placed in the back of a police car after they explain your Miranda Rights. You can then remain silent until you have an attorney present.
You will soon after be asked to take a breathalyzer test and it is your choice whether you want to refuse it or not. They will also warn you of the penalties you can face for refusing this test.
DUI Court Process
The DUI court process is extensive and extremely difficult to do without an experienced attorney who understands the law and the rights you are entitled to. The results of a DUI case are more severe if this is not your first DUI offense or if it led to the death of another individual.
Below is the process you can expect after a DUI arrest:
Your Arraignment is the first appearance you will make after you are arrested. You will hear the criminal charges made against you and please Not Guilty. This is seen as a formality but is also an important part of your DUI case. It is suggested that you obtain legal counsel before your Arraignment to weigh the options best for you.
The pre-trial hearing happens 4-6 weeks after your Arraignment. Your attorney will ask for the information related to your case and how it can be resolved. The prosecutor then offers you a deal and your attorney will consult with you on the best option. They can then file for a motion to suppress to limit the amount of evidence being used against them.
Before trial, there is a Motion Hearing to see if your attorney can dismiss your case entirely which is possible if you were unlawfully stopped. If rights were violated, that will strengthen your defense and lessen your consequences. After this, they set a date to go to trial.
At your trial, you can choose to have it done by a jury or “bench trial” — bench trials are faster results since it is one judge making a verdict. Both advantages and disadvantages exist, and your attorney will give you advisement. After your attorney argues in your defense at trial by providing necessary evidence, they will come to a verdict.
Sentencing will happen immediately after your trial ends. If you lose, you and your attorney will fill out the appropriate paperwork and discuss the next steps. If you win, your attorney will suggest your next steps and help you apply for a hardship license. Fighting a DUI case is extremely difficult without an experienced attorney. It is in your best interest to find a lawyer that will fight your case in court.