Top Mistakes Made By Inexperienced Defendants in OUI Cases


     An OUI conviction can have long lasting consequences on your ability to find employment, drive your motor vehicle, and your freedom. OUI law has become a very specialized field over the past decade and it is extremely important that you have an attorney that will effectively represent you at a fair and reasonable price.

     Too many people before they walk into the courtroom and in the courtroom make many mistakes that could have easily avoidable if they had gotten sound legal advice from an attorney that regularly handles OUI cases. Many of the mistakes that I see are provided below as well as ways that people could have avoided them.


Hiring the wrong lawyer and paying way too much.


     You would not walk into a doctor’s office for a brain surgery and hire a doctor who tells you that he’s never performed a brain surgery before but he is one heck of a pediatrician. Along the same lines, you may not want to hire a lawyer for your OUI case because he or she did such a wonderfull job on your real estate closing. Although there are some skilled lawyers who do have a wide variety of practice areas, You should want a lawyer who is experienced in handling operating under the influence cases in Massachusetts. Please review the OUI attorney checklist for some questions you should be asking a potential attorney to handle your OUI case. Besides finding a skilled lawyer, it is important that you are not being overcharged for their services. Don’t be fooled by anyone that promises you the world and guarantees victory no matter what for a very hefty fee. Are you being told the truth or are they just telling you what you want to hear to get your hard earned money.

     At the law office of Daniel M. Sandell, we will answer all questions that you have regarding your case and we will represent you at an extremely reasonable rate. At our office we have the first offense OUI flat fee guarantee where the cost of your first offense OUI will range from $1500 for reviewing your file and tendering a plea if we decide that your case is not triable. Excluding the costs of expert witnesses, the cost for your lawyer to take your case to trial will not exceed $2,500. With this flat fee guarantee you will not have to worry about paying a high hourly rate with an unknown amount of hours.


Failing to talk to an Attorney prior to tendering a plea. 


     Just because you did not do perfectly on your field sobriety tests or blew into a breathalyzer machine that produced a result of .08 or higher doesn’t mean that all is lost. Frequently an individual will plea there case out on the first available date because of these issues and fail to even talk to an experienced OUI attorney. Sometimes but not always, there may be issues with how the police came into contact with you and you were arrested that could lead to a successful motion to suppress, resulting in a dismissal of your case. Other times, there may be issues with how much air you blew into the breathalyzer machine, how long you blew into the breathalyzer machine, and how the test was performed by the police that can result in the test result over inflating the level of alcohol you actually had in your system.

     Without consulting with an experienced OUI attorney, you will never know if the police trampled on your constitutional rights or if there are some serious error on how the breathalyzer test was performed. You probably wouldn’t try to perform surgery on yourself, and along the same lines, you may not want to try and be your own expert or lawyer in your OUI case. Issues such as the time you may lose your license, the fines and fees that will be assessed, and the travel restrictions on probationers are just a few issues that are frequently overlooked by individuals who try to represent themselves. These common and costly mistakes are easily avoidable with an experienced attorney by your side.


Driving after your license has been suspended.


     Please do not drive a motor vehicle after you have had your license suspended for either failing the breathalyzer test or for refusing one. Many people frequently forget being told in court at their arraignment that “If you are charged with a new offense while these charges are pending, your right to bail may be revoked and you could spend up to 60 in jail pending the final resolution of this matter”. Although having to get around with a license can be a pain, it is one hundred times better than sitting in a jail cell for something that could have been easily avoided. If you make the poor decision to operate your motor vehicle on a suspended license during the period of your suspension after tendering a plea or being found guilty on your OUI case, you not only face a further license loss, you are facing a minimum mandatory 60 days in jail with no hope of parole of good time. Don’t let your pending or resolved OUI case and your poor decisions lead into a jail cell at the House of Corrections.


Telling anyone that asks the intimate details about your case.


     The attorney client privilege applies to communications between you and your lawyer that are intended to be private, practically anything else does not count. Often times people will have long conversations with the police, their friends, complete strangers as well as anyone that wants to learn about it on Facebook about the intimate details of their pending criminal matter. If anyone you talk to is not your attorney, then it is not privileged and the Commonwealth could potentially summons these people in as witnesses against you during the trial of your case.

Ignoring the fact that your charged with a criminal case:


     People often avoid confrontation and don’t want to deal with the fact that they are charged in a criminal matter. Often times, people contact a lawyer too late after they have been through a few court dates on their own and have backed themself into a corner. Most ordinary citizens are not familiar with the rules of criminal procedure in Massachusetts as well as the rules of evidence. The sooner you contact a skilled attorney for advice, the sooner you can have a realistic expection of where your case is going and what the possible outcomes are.

Attorney Sandell has lost count of how many people simply respond to their criminal allegation with "Why am I here, this is bullshit". Although you are entitled to your opinion, the police department that arrested you and the District attorney's office prosecuting you likely disagrees. 


Representing yourself during a plea.


     Although not every criminal matter will go to trial and as a result, many cases will result in a tender of plea or other type of disposition, it may not be the best decision to represent yourself during your tender of plea. Many people who enter courtrooms for the the first time without having an attorney by your side have no idea what is and what is not appropriate information to tell the court during a tender of plea. Even though you may have some idea of what to say, it is still a good idea to contact a lawyer to prepare you the for the possibility of sentencing. Issues with interlock ignition devices, travel restrictions for persons on probation, the amounts of fines fees that you may be assessed, the cost of having to complete the required programs during probation, and license loss issues are frequently overlooked by people who try to represent themselves. Having a skilled attorney by your side can help make sure that you are aware of all of the consequences of tendering a plea, explain all of the likely conditions of probation that will be placed upon you, and will be able to review your personal history and any mitigating factors for the court to consider.

     There is no substitute for an attorney that will fight to make sure the least amount of fines and fees will be imposed when you dispose of your case, and will place yourself and your circumstances in the most favorable light when you have to appear in court.


Worrying about going to jail without a good reason.


     Often times, people with no experience with the court system charged with misdemeanor offenses overreact to the fact that they have been charged with a criminal complaint. Just because you are charged with a crime does not mean that you are guilty, it is just an allegation. Often times people will lose sleep, miss work, and cause damage to their personal relationships by worrying about going to jail and having their life ruined. Although Jail is not avoidable in every situation, for many people there are alternatives to jail such as pre-trial diversion, pre-trial probation, and admitting to sufficient facts that can keep you out of jail while preserving your criminal record. A skilled attorney should give you realistic expectations about the possible outcomes of your case, answer all questions that you have regarding your case, putting you at ease that you have an attorney who will stand and fight by your side every step of the way.