Frequently Asked Questions About Massachusetts DUI Arrests and Criminal Defense
Throughout Massachusetts, our attorneys get asked the same questions all of the time. Our best answers are listed below, but if you can't find what you are looking for, call us at (800) 82-DEFENSE (1-800-82-3336).
Questions and Answers About DUI in Massachusetts
Q: Will my name be in the newspaper if I was arrested for DUI?
A: In most cases, the answer is no. Few newspapers today publish that somebody has been arrested, although some police departments have a police log and publish them online. If your case is disposed of early enough, it can prevent your name from appearing anywhere, but there really isn't anything that can be done if somebody Google searches your name anymore.
Q: If I was arrested, will I need a DUI lawyer?
A: No, you don't need a lawyer. You can plead guilty or try to negotiate for yourself. Some claim that you'll get a better deal with a lawyer than you'd get for yourself, but you should really consider having somebody on your side to make sure that you are being treated fairly. Read more about whether you need a lawyer.
Q: Can I refuse a breath test?
A: In Massachusetts, the refusal to take a breath test is itself a criminal violation subject to stiff penalties. It results in automatic driver's license suspension or revocation.
Q: Are Breathalyzer results always accurate?
A: You can challenge the test on the basis of improperly calibrated equipment or inadequately trained officers. Additionally, you can rebut the presumption of the test with eyewitness testimony and field sobriety test results.
Q: How can I get to work if I cannot drive?
A: Most people rely on public transportation or rides from friends or family, but you can apply for a hardship license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Understand that strict limitations apply, and you can be slapped with further penalties related to violations of the ignition interlock device and others.
Q: What DUI defenses are there?
A: The potential defenses are almost limitless. The majority can be broken down into improper police procedure, faulty breath and field sobriety testing, and other ways to beat your DUI listed here.
Questions and Answers About Criminal Defense
Q: I've been contacted about an investigation. Can the police lie to me when questioning me about a case?
A: It's frightening to most, but yes. The police can tell you an outright lie in an attempt to get you to incriminate yourself. Often, they'll tell you that they have witnesses or other evidence when they do not, or that you have already been named by others as a wrongdoer – whether or not that is really true. Our best advice is to never speak with police officers. Call us first for a prefiling strategy.
Q: Should I let the police search my house or car?
A: No. Most police officers will ask your permission to search because it saves them a great deal of hassle in getting a search warrant. Make them work for whatever they need, and remember that once you give consent, anything found in the search will probably be allowed. You should know, however, that if you have been stopped by the police in your car, there are exceptions to the rule (such as search incident to an arrest or a quick search of the immediate area around you).
Q: The police officer told me that if I cooperated that he would make me a deal. Is there such a thing?
A: No. The district attorney is the only one who has discretion to "make deals" once you've left the police station.
Q: How does a district attorney decide who to charge and who to let go?
A: They have discretion to decide which crimes should be charged. In a typical case, the police investigate a crime and send a report to the prosecutor. The prosecutor then must decide whether to bring criminal charges against the subject of the investigation. He or she analyzes the case to determine if it is legally sound — whether there are defects that will get it thrown out of court, etc. Prosecutors also assess whether the defendant is a repeat offender. If offering a plea, the prosecutor may prefer to dispose of the case or offer probation.
Questions and Answers About Massachusetts Gun Laws
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 10 addresses the several different laws that relate to guns and weapons, including gun licensing issues in Massachusetts.
No matter how clear the different statutes may appear, we find that several clients are either unclear or have questions that relate to the different regulations and procedures relating to the laws.
Q: What does a license to carry a gun allow me to do?
A: Gun licenses allow you to purchase, possess, use and carry large and nonlarge capacity firearms, rifles, shotguns, feeding devices and ammunition, as well as chemical sprays.
Q: What exactly is a firearm, and what's the difference between a firearm and a rifle or shotgun?
A: Firearms are defined as pistols, revolvers or other weapons (loaded or unloaded) from which a shot or bullet can be discharged from a barrel of less than 16 to 18 inches.
Q: I've heard that I can't carry a gun if I have been convicted of a crime. What is a conviction?
A: A conviction is defined as a finding or verdict of guilt or a plea of guilty, whether or not final sentence is imposed. If you have a CWOF (continuance without a finding), this would also disqualify you for five years.
Q: If I was convicted of committing a crime in another state, would that disqualify me?
A: The same rules apply if you have been convicted or adjudicated in another state for any of the aforementioned criteria.
Q: How long is a FID Card good for?
A: Four years.
Q: If a police officer requests that I show him or her my FID or LTC, do I really have to show it?
A: Upon the demand of a police officer or any law enforcement officer, any person issued a valid license must exhibit same to him or her or show the receipt for any fee paid for such card.
Q: Can a Massachusetts resident sell a gun without being a licensed dealer?
A: Yes, as long as seller and buyer possess an appropriate FID card or LTC.
Q: I was just served with a restraining order. I don't want the police to have my guns. Can I give them to my brother?
A: No. The police are required to confiscate guns and any FID card or LTC.