DUIs are becoming increasingly more common as more and more drivers take to the road after drinking. In Massachusetts, there were 8,280 DUI arrests made in 2018 alone, according to National Drunk Driving Statistics. A DUI charge and conviction is a serious offense that can have long-lasting repercussions on your future. If you have been charged with drunk driving or a DUI, you don’t have to face this challenge on your own.
Here at my firm, the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella, I have extensive criminal defense experience and have spent over 20 years defending individuals charged with DUI-related offenses. My combination of knowing the law and understanding how the justice system works has helped me defend countless clients facing significant criminal charges.
If you have been charged with a DUI and live in Springfield, Massachusetts, or anywhere else throughout Western and Central Massachusetts including Northampton, Westfield, Amherst, and Palmer — my firm is here to help. Call or reach out to my office today to schedule a free case consultation.
Under Massachusetts law, a driver can be found guilty of driving under the influence if their ability to operate a vehicle is diminished by the consumption of alcohol or an illegal substance. If your blood alcohol content level is at .08% or higher or you are under the influence of intoxicating liquors, marijuana, narcotics, intoxicating vapors, or other drugs — you are not allowed to operate a vehicle in a public place.
While you may usually think that operating a vehicle means you must be driving it, this is not the case in Massachusetts. Simply running the engine or moving the vehicle in any way while drunk, as you may know, can put you in danger of being convicted of a DUI. However, these are not the only ways that one can be found guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence. If you are found in physical control of the vehicle in any way while drunk, you can be cited for a DUI — even if you are not actually driving the vehicle.
Any driver that is lawfully arrested for driving under the influence is required to consent to a chemical test of their breath or blood in order to determine the amount of alcohol or drugs that they have in their system. This is known as the implied consent law. In Massachusetts, you can get your license suspended if you refuse to be tested.
There can also be sobriety tests performed in the field that involve standing on one leg, step walking and turning, and gazing horizontally. Unlike the chemical test, you do not have to legally submit to a field sobriety test. These tests are voluntary and you have the right to refuse. However, the police can still arrest you if they believe you are intoxicated and require a chemical test.
There are a number of different penalties that you may incur if you are convicted of a DUI. In addition to getting your license suspended, you can face significant fines and even jail time. In addition, if you have multiple DUI offenses, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your car.
This was passed under Melanie’s Law in 2005, which mandated that repeat offenders have an IID installed in their vehicle for a predetermined amount of time. The program is managed by the Ignition Interlock Department of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. To date, more than 17,000 IID devices have been installed since the program’s inception.
A DUI charge may also lead to other consequences outside of the law. With a DUI conviction on your record, you may have issues securing a job, securing housing, or have issues with securing custody or visitation if you are in the midst of a divorce — all due to your criminal record. You can even have your license revoked for life if you commit a fifth or subsequent DUI offense.
At the end of the day, no one should simply accept a DUI charge without a fight. The ramifications of a DUI conviction can be severe, and the consequences can have an impact on your personal and professional life for years to come.
Don’t face these challenges on your own. At the Law Office of Joseph M Pacella, I’ve been working with individuals facing a variety of different circumstances surrounding a DUI charge for over a decade. With my extensive legal knowledge and experience, you can rest assured that you’ll have a skilled attorney on your side working to protect your rights and fight aggressively to have your charges reduced or dropped altogether. Call or reach out to my office today to schedule your own free case consultation.
If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you’re not alone. As the current President of our local bar association, I have the experience and legal resources to help you fight your DUI charges with confidence. I am proud to represent clients in Springfield, Massachusetts, and throughout Western and Central Massachusetts including the areas of Northampton, Westfield, Amherst, and Palmer. Call my office today to set up a free consultation. Together, we can discuss the details of your case and how my firm can help.