As an OUI / DUI Lawyer, sometimes I meet clients who are confused why they were charged with an OUI (Operating Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs) despite the fact that they blew less than a .08. There are two reasons for that:
- The officer believed that you were under the influence of drugs, which wouldn't show up on the breath test;
- Or, the officer believed that despite the fact that your blood alcohol content (commonly referred to as BAC) was less than .08, you were still "impaired" by the alcohol.
That's right: despite the common wisdom that it is legal to drive after drinking as long as your BAC is less than .08, you can still be charged with an OUI. In fact, this is not a law that is strange or unique to Massachusetts; many states allow an impairment charge. How does an officer prove in court that you were impaired? There are two major ways she can demonstrate impairment:
- By testifying in court that you were driving poorly, leading to the initial traffic stop;
- By presenting the results of field sobriety tests.
The good news is that these are much harder to prove than a somewhat more straightforward case of someone having a BAC over .08 (although even then, there are ways an experienced OUI attorney can help you dispute your case). Field sobriety tests have various problems, including the fact that they can be difficult for even a person completely sober to complete. Proving that someone was under the influence of drugs is even more difficult. Unless he actually saw you smoking marijuana while you were driving, how does the officer know you were OUI?
As you can see, there are plenty of ways an experienced attorney who is familiar with OUI law and proving OUI in court can help you with your case. Since OUI is a serious matter, you will certainly want an attorney by your side while you proceed through the court system. Contact us to set up an appointment to review your case.