A question often asked of jurors during jury selection is any variation of the following: “do any of you feel it is against the law to have something to drink and then get behind the wheel? Slogans broadcast across many states, including Massachusetts, would lead you to believe it is in fact illegal to have a drink and drive:
- Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving
- You Booze, You Cruise, You Lose
- Bad Breath is a Crime in Massachusetts
However, defense attorneys will tell you, prosecutors will agree and police officers will testify to the fact that having a drink and then driving is not illegal. Yes, ‘Buzzed driving is drunk driving’ if your BAC is over the nationally adopted legal limit of 0.08% as determined by a properly calibrated breath test machine, operated in the perfect manner, after you have been observed for a specific period of time, without a number of other issues interfering with the device. And yes, if your “boozing” brings you over the legal limit as prescribed in the same manner described above, and you “cruise” while over the legal limit, then you then may “lose.”
And what does “bad breath is a crime” even mean? Massachusetts wants you to believe that having alcohol on your breath means you are unable to drive a motor vehicle. Since when does someone’s breath scent indicate how many drinks someone has had?
We all can agree that it is unsafe to be over the legal limit and drive a car, boat, or other motor vehicle; however, educating yourself is extremely important when it comes to the proper breath and blood testing techniques to determine if you actually are over the limit. Your attorney and his or her recommended experts will help you with this if you have taken a breath or blood test and are being charged with OUI.
It is also extremely important to know what your rights are in terms of breath testing in Massachusetts. It is not a crime to refuse the breath test in Massachusetts – bad breath is not a crime, and declining to provide your breath is not a crime. While there is an administrative 180 day license suspension for a first offense OUI in Massachusetts, this is the ONLY penalty and then the prosecution does not have a subjective number to hold over your head which puts you and your attorney one step ahead in defending your OUI case.
Contact Attorney Stephen L. Jones today to discuss your rights, your recent refusal or OUI, or a pending license suspension: (617) 851-7153.