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Natick Drunk Driving Law Blog

Are field sobriety tests really accurate?

Being questioned by a police officer who suspects you may be impaired while driving is no doubt something that would cause a person to be very nervous. Part of the nerves experienced in this situation is due to the fear of what consequences you might be given if you are convicted. Part of the nerves also come from a lack of understanding about the process and the tests used during the arrest.

Many people might think that field sobriety tests are administered to prove intoxication. However, as explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, this is not only untrue, but it is also impossible. These roadside tests are actually used only to support the law enforcement officer's supposition that you might possibly be drunk. These tests can then provide the evidence needed for you to be legally arrested and charged with drunk driving.

Losing your license as a parent

Any time someone loses their driver's license, life can become tricky in various ways. For some people, however, this can be an especially challenging ordeal. For example, a parent who loses his or her driver's license may be completely unsure of how to deal with the situation. They may be unable to take their kids to school, run errands such as buying groceries or be able to participate in other important activities and events. As a result, if you are a parent and have lost your driver's license due to drunk driving charges, it is important to know your options.

For starters, some people have lost their ability to drive over false allegations, and it is extremely important to address any concerns you have with respect to the validity of a drunk driving case. Losing your driving privileges can disrupt life for your entire family and it may also have an adverse impact on your career, leading to financial challenges and possibly derailing future career plans. With Halloween around the corner, this can be an especially upsetting time of year for a parent to lose their driving privileges.

Can you get your license reinstated without taking a test?

There are several reasons why you may have been issued a license suspension in Massachusetts. Some of the more common reasons may include operating under the influence, foregoing child support payments or excessive offenses of essential traffic laws. Whatever the reason, you are probably regretting the decisions you made that ultimately led you to lose your license in the first place. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to work toward getting your driving privileges reinstated, but the work you are required to do will vary according to the reason why you were suspended in the first place. 

According to Mass.gov, there are several requirements that you may be expected to pass before you are granted a reinstatement of your license including a written exam and/or a road test. If you were recommended a suspension that exceeds two years, you will undoubtedly be required to complete both the written and road portions of a learner's permit exam. To get started, it is recommended that you first check the requirements to have your license reinstated which will vary from case to case depending on your offense. You will also be asked to pay a fee which could range from $100 to $1200 based on your situation. 

Analyzing how your breath can measure your BAC

As you sit and contemplate the consequences a OUI arrest in Natick might bring, one question may creep into your mind: How is that law enforcement officials can determine what the alcohol content of your blood is by measuring your breath? Many have come to us here at the office of David. B Zirlen with the same question. To know the answer, you need to understand how it is that what you put in your mouth as a liquid can end up as escaping as breath. 

According to The Alcohol Pharmacology Education Partnership, the exact for of alcohol that you ingest in drinks is known as ethanol. Given that ethanol is a water-soluble compound, it is able to pass through the membranes of the organs of your digestive tract through a process known as passive diffusion. Ethanol molecules are thus able to pass through the lining of your stomach and small intestine and become caught up in the bloodstream, where they eventually reach your heart. 

What if my license is suspended for a DUI in another state?

While you were out of state visiting a friend, you were pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence. Your Massachusetts driver's license was suspended in that state. Can you still drive in Massachusetts?

According to Mass.gov, the National Driver Register is a database that includes information about revoked or suspended driver's licenses everywhere in the United States. Because every state is required to contribute to this database, it will not slip the notice of Massachusetts authorities that you have lost your right to drive, even though it happened somewhere else.

Looking for a job after an OUI in Massachusetts

When you were pulled over by Massachusetts law enforcement, your primary thoughts may have been the immediate results of a drunk driving conviction. Going to jail, paying fines and having an ignition interlock system installed in your car can be inconvenient at best. Since then, you have moved past all that and stayed out of trouble. However, now that you are looking for a job, things are different.

A criminal record can be a serious liability as you hunt for a new job. Fortunately, you may now qualify to have your OUI conviction expunged, Mass.gov explains. If it was a felony conviction, you must wait seven years before you can file a petition to have the record destroyed. A misdemeanor takes only three years. What are the benefits of expungement in your job search?

Do you have a DUI defense strategy?

After a few drinks, you got in your car, only to be pulled over by Massachusetts law enforcement on your way home. The breath or blood test indicates that your blood alcohol content was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. It seems like an open-and-shut case. 

According to FindLaw, you may still have defense options that result in lesser charges, or even dismissal of your charges. 

A Cinderella license may help you keep your job

After your arrest for drunk driving, you naturally worry that the Massachusetts penalties for this offense will destroy your life as you know it. Losing your driver's license will make it impossible for you to retain your employment, as you have no other means to get to and from work. We at the law office of David B. Zirlen often assist people with a DUI arrest to regain their driving privileges.

Because legislators understand that people need to be able to work, they created loopholes in the Massachusetts driver's suspension laws through the Cinderella license. This hardship license allows eligible drivers to be on the road for 12 hours during the day. 

Sealing or expunging criminal records in Massachusetts

There are many outcomes of an OUI in Massachusetts, one of which is a mark on a person's criminal record. A criminal record is typically public and can be accessed by a landlord, an employer or a university when someone has filled out an application that requires a background check. This may not seem fair. After all, once someone pays the fines and other penalties, why should the consequences continue?

According to Mass.gov, a person may be able to seal his or her criminal record so that the public can't see it. Not only that, it becomes legal to claim that he or she does not have a criminal record on certain types of applications, such as for employment. 

What are the standardized field sobriety tests?

Trained law enforcement officers use standardized field sobriety tests during traffic stops in Massachusetts if they suspect you are impaired. Although drunk driving laws and their repercussions vary by state, officers use these three tests throughout the country to estimate an individual’s blood alcohol content. According to AAA, the goal is to establish probable cause for arrest in drunk driving cases.

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus test – Officers use a moving object and observe your eyes for indications of impairment. If the eyes cannot follow the object or if they jerk during the test, it is considered likely that you are impaired.
  • One-leg stand - Directions instruct you to stand on one foot, with the other held approximately six inches off the ground, and count beginning with one-one thousand. There are four cues an officer looks for during this test, including swaying, using arms and dropping the raised foot to the ground.
  • Walk and turn test - Officers instruct you to take nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line. There are eight impairment indicators examiners look for, including the inability to maintain balance during the directions.

Many factors may prevent you from completing these standardized tests successfully, from age and eye conditions to disease and injuries. These tests are optional and can be highly subjective. The officer likely already suspects that you are under the influence and as a result, he or she may look for indicators that confirm this perspective.