OUI/DUI Court Process in Massachusetts and Elsewhere
Many steps occur following a Massachusetts drunk driving arrest, and our attorneys at the DUI Defense Group have a thorough understanding of the process.
Call the DUI Defense Group today at 800-82-DEFENSE (800-823-3336). Learn about our 18-step DUI-OUI defense strategy. Free initial consultation.
DUI Involves Two Legal Matters: RMV and Criminal Court
Procedurally, a DUI charge is very complex, primarily because there are two legal matters pending against you at the same time.
First, there's the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) hearing. In almost every case, the arresting police officer takes your driver's license. Within 15 days of your arrest, you must challenge the suspension of your license; if you miss that window of time, you may automatically lose your right to drive for a minimum of six months.
The second legal matter you'll need to address is your criminal case. Because most of our clients have never been to court on a criminal charge, the different types of appearances and procedures can be very confusing. For purposes of explanation below, it's broken out step by step:
Your DUI Arraignment
Following your arrest, if you are bailed out, you'll get an arraignment date when the judge will read and explain the charges to you. You will plead either guilty or not guilty. The general practice is to plead not guilty because of the several options available to you.
Prior to Your Massachusetts Pretrial Conference
In the weeks following arraignment, the defendant and his or her attorney discuss their discovery needs — written records needed from the prosecutor to help get the case dismissed or the charges greatly reduced.
During this waiting period, the defense investigates the facts, interviews witnesses, and takes necessary views and photographs of the arrest scene.
DUI Pretrial Conference
Both sides attempt to resolve the matter before appearing in front of the judge. If the case is to be resolved by plea, the case is settled, as long as the defendant understands and agrees to any court-imposed requirements.
At motion hearings, witnesses may be called or police officers cross-examined about the initial traffic stop and tests you took associated with that stop.
Trial and Sentencing
The district attorney goes first with his or her opening statement. These statements provide an outline of the case that the district attorney expects to prove. The prosecution then presents its case through direct examination of witnesses. Immediately thereafter, the defense cross-examines these witnesses, attempting to discredit their testimony.
The prosecution rests once it finishes presenting its case. The defense then repeats the same process and puts its case on. Once the defense rests, each side makes a closing (summary) argument.
Following this, the jury gets instructions and deliberates. Once it reaches a verdict, the defendant is found either not guilty or guilty. In the case of a guilty verdict, the judge then sentences the defendant.
Contact Us for a Free Case Evaluation
The rules and procedures for court motions, hearings, trials and other processes in a Massachusetts OUI case are complicated. For a FREE, no-obligation case evaluation, call 800-82-DEFENSE (800-823-3336) or use our online form to schedule an appointment. Our lawyers handle drunk driving cases throughout New England and beyond.