Frequently Asked Questions About OUI/DUI Law
What should I do if I’m stopped while driving and accused by a police officer of driving while under the influence of alcohol?
People get stopped all the time for traffic violations and those stops turn into charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. First of all, it is not illegal to drive after drinking alcohol. It is only illegal to drive if you are operating while under the influence of alcohol. That is, does the consumption of alcohol in some way effect your ability to drive safely.
One of the first things an officer will do if he suspects that an individual is operating under the influence of alcohol is to ask that person if he has been drinking. You do not need to answer that question. An officer will, in most instances, request that you submit to a series of tests called “field sobriety test”. Those tests are designed to allow an officer to observe you performing physical tasks while at the same time performing mental calculations. It is important to remember that you are not required to perform a field sobriety test. In fact, in most instances you are better off politely refusing to perform any such task. A police officer may also offer you an opportunity to blow into what is called a “portable breath testing machine” while at the scene. You are not required to take that test, and in most instances, it is suggested that you do not submit to such a test.
Finally, a police officer is required, if you are placed under arrest to offer you a breath test. You do not have to take such a test and have the right to refuse the test. However, if you do refuse the test, you will lose your right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts for a period of 180 days and your right to operate will not be restored unless you have either been acquitted of the crime of operating under the influence of alcohol or the 180 days have expired. In most instances, your ability to contest the charges are better if you refuse the test.