After more than 20 years as a lawyer, many people have asked me questions about DUI, OWI and DWI. As a former prosecutor, I have insight into how the state handles these cases, which I use for my clients' advantage. Here are a few of the most common questions clients ask at Hansen Law Offices, PLLC:
Can I Refuse To Take The Breathalyzer Or Field Sobriety Test?
You can refuse to take the breathalyzer, blood test and/or the field sobriety test, but there may be consequences. If you have consumed more than two drinks in an hour, you may be better off refusing. If you are confident you will pass the test, however, you should take it and follow any other directions the officer gives you. In addition, if you have a CDL, refusing a test may result in a one-year, or even a “lifetime,” suspension of your CDL pursuant to the Code of Federal Regulations.
Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts all have implied consent laws. That means you consented to these tests as a condition of receiving your driver's license. Refusing to take the test could result in the state automatically suspending your license. You may have a limited amount of time to challenge that suspension, so you should contact an attorney right away.
I Failed The Breathalyzer And/Or Field Sobriety Test. Should I Give Up And Plead Guilty?
Not necessarily. You need to speak with an experienced lawyer right away. The police make mistakes, and the tests they administer have potential flaws. You do have defenses available to you, including:
- Fighting the results of the field sobriety test
- Fighting the results of the blood alcohol test
- Challenging probable cause to pull you over in the first place
- Pleading to a reduced charge
I can help you determine what sort of defense may work best in your situation.
What Kind Of Penalties Will I Face?
People are most concerned with what can happen to them, their driver's license and, sometimes, even their job if they are charged with a DUI, OUI or DWI. In addition to administrative penalties, a DUI conviction in court can have many consequences, and the penalties depend on what state you live in.
- Maine: In Maine, you face a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to one year in jail for a first offense OUI. Your license could be suspended for 150 days.
- New Hampshire: A first offense DWI is now a crime in New Hampshire with a minimum fine of $500 and a nine-month license suspension. Penalties go up from there with multiple offenses.
- Massachusetts: You could face between $500 and $5,000 in fines and up to two and a half years in jail for your first offense. You may also lose your license for a year.
I am a licensed attorney in all three states, so I can answer your questions if your arrest took place in any of those places.