When getting an OUI or a DUI or having to appear for a court arraignment, come to Caste & Hall, where we can help you fight the charges. We will accompany you to court and ensure you are adequately defended by our team of specialized and confident lawyers.
When it comes to operating machinery under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there are three different categories. DWI is driving while intoxicated; DUI is driving under the influence; and OUI, the criminal charge in Massachusetts, is operating under the influence. All three refer to driving while impaired from having ingested, smoked, or otherwise taken an impairing substance, legal or illegal.
OUI is operating a motor vehicle in any place where the public has the right of access under the influence of alcohol at a level of .08 percent blood alcohol content or higher or under the effect of drugs, stimulants, or depressants. Drivers with a commercial driver's license operating a commercial vehicle are considered driving under the influence with a BAC of .04 percent or more. In addition, Massachusetts follows a zero-tolerance policy for drivers who are not old enough to legally buy or drink alcohol, meaning any BAC of .02 percent or more is considered driving under the influence.
Then you will usually get an arraignment date and have to appear in court to defend your actions. The arraignment date is the first time a criminal defendant appears in court. The arraignment is for reading the charges and determining what the defendant would like to do with their case.
At an arraignment hearing, a judge will read the criminal charges against the defendant and ask the defendant whether they understand the charges. Then your lawyers at Castel & Hall will be with the defendant to ensure proper defense. Either way, the judge will be sure to inform the defendant of necessary trial rights before proceeding.
Next, the defendant will be asked how they plead to the charges. There are three options: guilty, not guilty, or no contest. A plea of no contest means that the person disagrees that they committed a crime but is willing to accept a conviction. The judge will then make a decision or will review the bail decision. The defendant may be released on their or may be told to post a certain amount of bail. Finally, the judge will announce the court dates for the preliminary hearing, pre-trial motions, and trial.
The arraignment is a formal process designed to protect the defendant's rights. It is often the first time a defendant sees a judge in their case and should never try to argue the facts of the case or present evidence during the arraignment. The judge cannot consider any evidence of guilt or innocence at this hearing. Still, statements made by defendants at arraignment might be incriminating and used against them later.