The While House has declared December National Impaired Driving Prevention Month; there is some irony given the fact that the President’s uncle being arrested in Framingham this year and charged with first offense OUI in Massachusetts, as we previously reported on our blog.
As the Buffalo True Crime Examiner reports, there is a full-court press underway nationwide to try to cut down on drunken driving, despite statistics showing that numbers are significantly down from the past few decades.
Massachusetts OUI lawyers know such enforcement efforts increase the risk of marginal and unfair arrests. There will be an increased presence of law enforcement officers — both local and state — attempting to make as many OUI arrests in Massachusetts as possible in the coming weeks.
As we head into the holiday season, this is a busy time for police officers anyway. There will be nearly 92 million people traveling this holiday season, Providence Business News reports, based on AAA travel predictions. That equals about 30 percent of the U.S. population who will travel 50 miles or more from home this year, a 1.4 percent increase from last year’s estimation.
About 91 percent of those travelers will be moving by vehicle, so the number of people on the highways will be staggering.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also thrown in its two cents, saying that it is conduction a nationwide enforcement of OUI laws. The agency is spending $7 million of taxpayer dollars on a “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” advertisement campaign that is expected to run during the last two weeks of the year and into the New Year.
In 2010, overall rates of drunken driving declined, however. Statistics released this December show that nationwide, there were more than 500 fewer alcohol-related traffic deaths in 2010 compared to 2009, good for a 5 percent drop.
Despite this, authorities still try to dig up statistics to try to justify the emphasis on pulling people over and trying to charge them with OUI. Operating a vehicle under the influence in Massachusetts is a serious offense and while it is still the most commonly charged crime in the state, the penalties continue increasing.
A person who faces a first-time offense with no prior criminal history can be subjected to major sanctions, including jail time, a one year driver’s license suspension, fines and fees, possible alcohol education program and the possibility of probation in lieu of, or in addition to, jail time.
Those are major penalties for a one-time mistake. That’s why it is important to fight the charges and look at all possible avenues of defense. A skilled Massachusetts OUI lawyer will examine all aspects of the case, but pay particularly close attention to the breath testing equipment and procedures used by law enforcement and the field sobriety test results.
It is sometimes possible to show that either the equipment used by police was faulty or the officer’s observations during field sobriety testing — walking heel-to-toe, maintaining balance on one leg or following an object with one’s eyes — contradict with what actually happened.
The Law Offices of Michael DelSignore are conveniently located in Stoughton, Attleboro, New Bedford and Westborough.
More Blog Entries:
Mom Charged With Rehoboth First Offense OUI After Vodka, Toddler Found in Car: December 13, 2011
More Women Being Arrested for Drunk Driving in Massachusetts: December 9, 2011