Massachusetts OUI laws apply in two different situations. There is Operating under the Influence of Alcohol, which is by far the more common one and then there is also Operating under the Influence of Drugs.
We have fought a number of OUI drugs cases at The Law Offices of Russell J Matson, and of the OUI drugs cases we have taken to trial in last several years, we have ended up winning all of them.
There is a reason why we’ve had such great success winning these cases, and why fighting these charges is a good idea. The fact of legal impairment in OUI drugs cases tend to be hard to prove in court beyond a reasonable doubt.
Why Are OUI Drugs Charges Good to Fight At Trial?
In order to prove an OUI Drugs case, the Commonwealth has to prove that my client took drugs, and that the drugs were in the category of banned substances. There are a number of drugs that are legally banned substances under the influence of which it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle. Drugs such as Marijuana, Heroin, Opiates, and a number of various stimulants and depressants all apply, but it has to be one of the named drugs.
It is not enough that somebody took drugs and it affected their ability to drive. There are many prescription drugs which potentially could affect somebody’s ability to drive but if they are not named under the law. It is not illegal to take them and drive, even if they impair you.
Another reason OUI drugs cases are simply harder for the state to prove is that most of the time the state has to send the drugs to a lab to analyze them, and establish that it is a controlled substance. And under the Melendez-Diaz Supreme Court decision a year ago, they would also have to bring the analyst from the lab into the court. There aren’t that many of these state forensic drug analysis in Massachusetts, so it is a practical problem for the district attorneys.
How to win an OUI Drugs Case
I had an OUI drugs case a few years ago in the Peabody District Court where my client was found not guilty. In that case, they tried to use a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE). I challenged the validity of the DRE evidence, and in that particular case, I argued that the DRE hadn’t even examined my client.
The expert merely looked at the arresting officers report and opined that my client was under the influence of drugs. So you can often challenge the validity of the DRE, and if you can’t keep them from testifying you can keep out some of their testimony or attack the validity of their testimony.
Why are OUI Drugs Cases More Winnable Than OUI Alcohol?
Another good thing about OUI Drugs cases is, unlike most OUI cases where a client has either refused the breath test or failed the breath test and their license is suspended, a defendant in an OUI Drugs case has not refused or failed a breath test. Therefore, while the case is going on, you still have a driver’s license, so it makes it easier for clients to fight the case.
In OUI alcohol cases, many people who have cases we’d have a great chance to win at trial simply can’t afford to be without a driver’s license for the six months or more it can take to get a trial resolution. The need for a driver’s license is probably the number one reason people decide to plead guilty in OUIs, but fortunately, this is not a factor with an OUI drugs charge.
So, it nearly always makes sense to fight OUI cases because in our experience we have a high probability of winning the cases, and there is no better resolution to a case than a not guilty. We also will help you find drug possession charges that may be associated with your incident.
If you are accused of Operating Under the Influence of Drugs in Massachusetts, please call me for a consultation. My experience in these specific cases can be a huge benefit to you.
Call me now for a free consultation at (781) 380-7730, and I’ll let you know how your cases compares to the many that I’ve beaten in court.
Russell Matson, Massachusetts OUI Attorney
Call Russell Matson’s cell phone to talk to a drunk driving / DUI / OUI attorney anytime at (781) 380-7730.