A drunk driving defense attorney can see things you can't. No, it's not that we have a better vision than you. Instead, a drunk driving defense attorney knows what to look for in a case. A drunk driving defense attorney in Massachusetts knows to check and make sure that you were observed for 15 minutes before taking the breath test. He also knows to check the so-called “test ticket” and make sure the machine is in calibration. These are not just technicalities. Issues with even these small things can mean that the breath machine is not functioning properly. For you, this could mean that the breath test result could not be used against you in court.
A criminal defense attorney can tell you not just what the law says, but what the law means and what a judge is likely to do with the law. Just because the drunk driving statute, G.L.c. 90 section 24 says that you could go to jail for up to 2 1/2 years, does not mean you will. Indeed, the vast majority of first offense OUI convictions result in a “24D” program. This, for most clients, is vastly preferable to the much lengthier loss of license under the standard statute.
A drunk driving defense attorney can tell you if your constitutional rights have been violated. In Massachusetts, we are lucky to be protected by both the Constitution of the United States of America, as well as the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The Massachusetts Declaration of Rights actually protects citizens rights more fiercely than the Constitution. A defense attorney can look at your case and tell you if the police violated your rights under the Constitution or the Declaration of Rights. If so, evidence could be suppressed, meaning that prosecutors could not introduce it at trial.
It's been said that a good lawyer knows the law, while a great lawyer knows the judge. No, this doesn't mean that you need a lawyer who plays golf with the judge. Indeed, judges are rightfully very careful about being too close to attorneys who appear before them. But in many ways, the saying is right: a good criminal defense attorney does his research. But a better defense attorney researches the other players. Particularly if you look for an attorney who practices in your area, that attorney should know something about the Judge and prosecutor. This is important to know to be able to craft an argument to its audience.
A drunk driving defense attorney should give you peace of mind. You have enough to worry about already. You have to deal with getting around without your license, and the effect just being charged has on your life and the life of your loved ones. You should not have to worry about keeping up with the latest laws and cases on drunk driving. An attorney can take that off your plate. A good drunk driving defense attorney can do some of your worrying for you. If you can offload just some of that worrying, you can worry about the right things, like getting your life back to normal.
Frankly, there are a lot more than just five reasons to hire a drunk driving defense attorney. In any case, you should meet an attorney face-to-face to figure out if it's a good fit. If you don't feel comfortable, meeting with him, that's probably a good indication that it's not the right fit. Ask around (you'd be amazed at how many people you know have had a similar charge), and don't be afraid to ask for a free initial consultation to make sure he (or she) is the right attorney for you.
Harrison Barrow is a criminal defense attorney focusing on winning OUI/DUI/DWI cases for his clients. His office is in West Dennis, and he practices in courts throughout Cape Cod and Southeastern Massachusetts. You can call his office toll-free at 844–945–1400 and speak to someone any time of the day or night.