Operating Under the Influence

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    Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing

Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing

Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing
A Review of Commonwealth v. Thomas J. Gerhardt
In the recent decision,  the Supreme Judicial Court made a decision regarding the Admissibility of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in cases involving a police officer’s suspicion of a driver that is operating under the influence of marijuana.   The decision reached by Review of Commonwealth v. Thomas J. Gerhardt answers the following questions. Commonwealth v. Gerhardt, SJC-11967, slip op. at 9 (Mass. Sep. 19, 2017).
May a police officer testify to the administration and results of standard field sobriety tests in prosecutions for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) Marijuana, as they do in OUI Alcohol prosecutions?
Short Answer:  No

Officers may only testify to the administration of “road side assessments”
Lack of scientific agreement on the results of the standardized field sobriety test for impairment does not make them irrelevant, though the relevance threshold is very low. at 13.
There is no doubt that an officer can testify to his or her observations, such as the driver’s appearance, demeanor, odors that are relevant to impairment.
Field Sobriety Tests CANNOT BE TREATED AS SCIENTIFIC TESTS that establish impairment as a result of marijuana consumption. The test should neither be treated as a definitive test of impairment nor should it be excluded from the entirety by the finder of facts. at 15.
A Police Officer need not be qualified as an expert. Tests can be admitted without satisfying the Daubert-Lanigan requirements.
The Officer cannot suggest that the defendant was under the influence of marijuana due to their performance on the field sobriety tests and cannot say the defendant PASSED or FAILED. at 16.
Must be made clear under all circumstances to the fact […]

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    Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with OUI for Drugs or Alcohol?

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with OUI for Drugs or Alcohol?

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with an Operating Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol?
If you have been arrested or charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) or what many states commonly refer to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) then you are already discovering the complicated procedures of the criminal court and the effect that this charge can have on your life. You could have been charged with an OUI/DUI for alcohol or drugs. Operating under the influence of drugs is a growing concern for the public safety given the opiate epidemic plaguing the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the near daily news coverage of resulting tragedies.  Given the increase in public concern the police have responded by charging individuals with OUI Drugs. This can lead to even more consequences than an OUI for alcohol because the police have the ability to contact the Registry of Motor Vehicles to suspend your license indefinitely as an immediate threat to public safety and if this happens the process for getting your license back is long and complicated.

If you are going to proceed in your case by having a trial, it is always in your best interest to be represented by an attorney that knows the rules of evidence, the trial procedures, and the best way to defend against these specific charges. An experienced attorney will also be able to look at the evidence against you and determine what motions need to be filed on your behalf. For example, to admit the results of a breath test against you at trial certain procedures needed to have been adhered to, and an attorney can look at the evidence and see if the proper procedures […]

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with an OUI/DUI?

Should I hire an Attorney if I am charged with an OUI/DUI?

If you have been arrested or charged with Operating Under the Influence (OUI) or what many states commonly refer to as Driving Under the Influence (DUI) then you are already discovering the complicated procedures to get your license back.  If you have been charged then your license has already been suspended. It is important to hire an attorney to represent you if you have been charged with either an OUI for drugs or alcohol due to the consequences on your license and potential for jail time. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the complex laws that can prevent you from getting your license back. In many cases if your license was suspended for refusing a breath test the only way to get your license back before the 6 month minimum loss of license is to have your case dismissed or be found not guilty.

If you are going to proceed in your case by having a trial, it is always in your best interest to be represented by an attorney that knows the rules of evidence, the trial procedures, and the best way to defend against these charges. An experienced attorney will also be able to look at the evidence against you and determine what motions need to be filed on your behalf. For example, to admit the results of a breath test against you at trial certain procedures needed to have been adhered to, and an attorney can look at the evidence and see if the proper procedures were followed. If the procedures were not followed your Attorney can file motions to prevent the results of your breath test from being used […]

To Take or Not To Take the Breathalyzer? What you should know about refusing to take a breathalyzer.

You have been out with your friends, on a date, or coming home from a sporting event and while there you indulged in a few alcoholic drinks. You can function, but have no clue if you are close to the .08 blood alcohol level. On your way home, your heart leaps into your throat as you look in the rear view mirror at the sight of the blue lights. You know that you may have to make a choice, to take the breathalyzer or not.
If you elect to take the breathalyzer and blow a .08 or higher the penalties are different if it is your first offense. For a first time offender that blows a .08 or higher you are facing no more than a license suspension of 30 days after the conclusion of the criminal charge if you elect to take a plea bargain. You are also immediately eligible, upon completion of the charge, to apply and receive a hardship license. Melanies’ Law also allows extends the ability to receive a hardship license to second time offenders as well.
You may be asking yourself at this point why anybody would elect not to take the breathalyzer. The answer to this question is, without the breathalyzer results it is more difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were driving under the influence. Massachusetts Law allows the prosecution to prove that you drove under the influence in two different ways. The first way is the “per se” violation, this is where the prosecution proves that you drove under the influence by showing that your blood alcohol level was a .08 or higher. If the prosecution has a breathalyzer test with a result of a blood […]

By |July 13th, 2015|Operating Under the Influence, Uncategorized|Comments Off on To Take or Not To Take the Breathalyzer? What you should know about refusing to take a breathalyzer.|