There are two possible options for every OUI: You can decide to fight the case, or you can work out a deal. I can help you weight the factors to help you decide which option is right for you. When we talk, I will ask you a number of specific questions about the details of your case. I’ll also want to review the police report. After doing these things I will quickly have a good handle on your situation and I’ll be able to lay out your options to you in plain English.
My practice is built on fighting OUI cases at trial. I follow a rigorous DUI trial preparation process for every trial.
Ultimately, a trial is the best decision for most people who can get by without a driver’s license for 6 months (in the case of a breath test refusal).
What Happens at a Criminal Court OUI Jury Trial
Jury Selection: Before a trial starts, a jury is selected. In Massachusetts, you are not allowed to questions the jurors. We make preemptory challenges based on how the prospective jurors filled out their questionnaires.
Opening Statements: Next, the lawyers present their opening statements. In my opening, I try to tell a story about the events in a way that the jury can understand, and think about themselves in the same situation.
Witnesses and Evidence: The prosecution presents evidence first. In most cases, the only evidence is the police officer’s testimony. Next, I get to cross-examine the police officers. I will go over every element of the case: the car stop, the exit from vehicle, any so-called field sobriety tests, the arrest process, and any other details that the officer has brought up. I will cross examine the police officer hardest on the elements of the Commonwealth’s case that are most helpful to us. My job is to raise doubts and inconsistencies about the important elements in the officer’s testimony. I’ll question the officer’s training, and point out any procedural errors that the officer may have made.
Next, the defense gets to present any evidence. In many cases, I do not present any evidence, since we don’t need to. The burden is on the prosecution to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Only in rare cases to I have my client take the stand. In some cases, I may call expert witnesses, such as a breath test expert in cases where there is breath test evidence, or possibly a private investigator if I wish to present some specific facts about the scene of the crime.
Closing Statements: Finally, we have closing arguments. This is where I try to sum up the case, and emphasize the facts that are most helpful to our defense. While in a fictional trial on TV, the closing is presented dramatically, in reality, most experts believe that a closing argument is not all that important. Most studies of juries have shown that in most cases, jurors have made up their minds about the case by this point.
Jury Instructions: The judge then gives about 20-25 minutes of jury instructions about the specifics of the law, how to apply it, and what constitutes reasonable doubt.
Deliberation and Verdict: Jury deliberation in an OUI case follows. Most juries return with a verdict in an hour or two at most. Only in rare cases to OUI trials carry over into a second day.
There are two different types of trials: a jury trial or a bench trial. In a Massachusetts OUI case, you have a choice of which type of trial you want.
When I take a Massachusetts drunk driving case to trial, I beat the case more than two thirds of the time. Of course I can’t guarantee any result, and, every case is different, but as I said, for most people a trial is the best way to get a fair outcome.
For my take on your case, call me now at (781) 380-7730.
Call Russell Matson’s cell phone to talk to an attorney anytime at (781) 380-7730.