Getting charged with an OUI, especially for the first time, is a scary experience that raises a lot of questions. If you aren’t familiar with your state’s court system or OUI penalties, it probably feels like you’re looking into the great unknown. Let’s break down what you need to know—and what steps you need to take—when you’ve been arrested for an OUI.
What to Expect When You’re Facing an OUI Conviction
After you’ve been arrested, the court will send out an official notice detailing your charges and when you need to appear in court. Your first court appearance will be an arraignment. When you arrive at the courthouse for your arraignment, the first step is to visit the probation department to check in and provide some personal information.
From there, you’ll be directed to the courtroom. Once in the courtroom, you’ll wait for your name to be called. When you’re called, that’s when your arraignment formally begins. An arraignment is, in essence, a fancy way for a court to officially charge you with a crime. At this time, you’ll enter your plea (guilty or not guilty). Assuming you plead not guilty, you will then be released with the understanding that you will be required to return to court for your pre-trial conference. At the latest, the court will expect you to have an attorney by the time of your pre-trial conference.
Seek Legal Representation
The very first thing you should do after being arrested for driving while under the influence is to find and hire an attorney. You want someone who specializes in OUI and DUI defense. Look specifically for a lawyer who is certified by the state board of drunk driving defense. Your OUI attorney will guide you through the court system and the legal process; an experienced specialist will be best equipped to provide smooth and effective guidance. Specialized OUI defense lawyers will also be most likely to help you achieve minimal penalties as the outcome of your charge.
Potential Penalties of an OUI
The penalties for a first offense OUI vary from state to state. In Massachusetts, first time OUI offenders face monetary consequences—the average fine is $1,380 to be paid over the course of the probationary period, but the exact amount is up to the discretion of the judge. Your license will also be suspended and you will be directed to outfit your vehicles with Ignition Interlock Devices, which require you to verify your sobriety before starting your car. While jail time is not typical for a first offense OUI, if convicted, you do risk up to two and a half years in prison. This is why having a qualified attorney to defend you against OUI charges is so important. Given how strict Massachusetts OUI laws are, you want the best defense you can get.
Get a Free Case Evaluation
Attorney James Milligan is a board-certified OUI defense attorney with over 20 years of experience practicing exclusively OUI defense. He has a proven record of success helping clients argue “Not Guilty” pleas against OUI charges. Don’t wait to reach out—the sooner you have representation, the better. Attorney Milligan offers free case evaluations. Schedule yours now.