Current Rules For Massachusetts Court Cases (Click Here To See)

Criminal Defense Lawyers serving Hampshire, Hampden & Franklin Counties.

Hampden Criminal DefenseBeing charged with a crime in the state of Massachusetts is a deeply unsettling experience. You are most likely feeling scared, anxious, and unsure of what you should do next. You need the best criminal defense attorney.

The most important action you can take is to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Regardless of the crime you allegedly committed, you are entitled to a strong defense.

Experienced Hampshire And Hampden County Criminal Defense

Springfield criminal defense attorney Thomas Kokonowski has nearly four decades of experience defending the accused in Hampshire and Hamden Counties.

Tom can provide guidance and support to help you navigate the complexities of the criminal justice system. He is well-versed in the local, state, and federal court systems and will fight on your behalf in any courtroom.

Former Prosecutors Defending Your Rights

Former Hampden ProsecutorsIf you choose Thomas Kokonowski as your criminal defense attorney, you will have the distinct advantage of being represented by former prosecutors who know the tricks and strategies the state will use in an attempt to convict you.

Tom’s primary aim is to seek a dismissal or reduction in the charges against you in an effort to make sure you avoid harsh penalties like jail or prison time, hefty fines, and a criminal record.

Time is of the essence in a criminal case.
Call today to ensure your rights are protected.

Springfield: 413.737.9700
Northampton: 413.585.9200
Amherst: 413.549.0022

Springfield OUI & DUI Lawyers

OUI & DUI Lawyer in Springfield, MA & Hampden County

OUI Arrest In Springfield, MA
Have You Been Charged With Drunk Driving in Springfield, MA, or Hampden County?

Drunk driving or Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is a serious crime in Springfiled Massachusetts and Hampden County. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest and whether you have been convicted of an OUI in the past, you could face harsh penalties, including:

  • the loss of your driver’s license
  • costly fines and fees
  • increased car insurance rates
  • potential jail time
  • a permanent criminal record

For these reasons, it’s important to hire a local drunk driving attorney who understands OUI laws in the state and can develop an effective defense on your behalf to help avoid a conviction or mitigate punishment.

Springfield Massachusetts and Hampden County OUI Laws

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol level (BAC) that is .08% or higher. While many other states refer to drunk driving as driving under the influence (DUI), or driving while intoxicated (DWI), Massachusetts calls it “operating under the influence” or OUI.

These charges are essentially the same except for the fact that operating a vehicle in MA doesn’t necessarily mean driving. You can be charged simply for having your keys in the ignition, even if you are stopped on the side of the road.

Stricter OUI Standard In Springfield, MA and Hampden County

The reason for using the stricter OUI standard is due in large part to Melanie’s Law, a piece of legislation enacted in 2005 after a 13-year-old named Melanie Powell lost her life in an accident caused by a repeat drunk driving offender.

To convict you of OUI, the prosecutor for the state must prove all three of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. you operated a motor vehicle
  2. in a public way
  3. while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

Proving Guilt

Springfield OUI Charges

The most important element leading to a conviction is proving that you were impaired or intoxicated. Evidence used against you may include how you were driving — were you swerving or going too slow or too fast?

What was your behavior or visual appearance? Did the officer say that you had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, or smelled of alcohol? The prosecutor will also emphasize your BAC level if it was over .08%.

OUI Arrest Process in Springfield, MA and Hampden County

Traffic Stop

Most OUI investigations begin when a police officer pulls you over after observing erratic driving or some other traffic violation. When the officer approaches your vehicle, he/she may ask you a few questions such as: Where are you coming from?

Have you been drinking? You have no legal obligation to answer these questions. Anything you say can be used against you and admit to drinking even a few drinks will be detrimental to your case.

When the officer asks for your license and registration you must comply.

Field Sobriety Tests

You may be asked to step outside of your vehicle to perform a series of field sobriety tests which includes:

  • Alphabet test
  • Walk and turn test
  • One-legged stand test
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test
  • Finger-to-nose test

Right Of Refusal in Springfield, MA and Hampden County

Springfield OUI Test

You have the right to refuse to take these tests. You also have the right to refuse a preliminary or portable breath test. This is a handheld device you breathe into to determine your blood alcohol concentration.

The only time you must vacate your vehicle is if the police officer says they are placing you under arrest. Cooperate and be polite but do not be talkative. You have the right to remain silent.


After being placed under arrest, you will be put into the back of a police cruiser and taken to the police station where you will be photographed and fingerprinted.

Breathalyzer Test

At the station, the police will ask you to submit to a breath test using a breathalyzer called the Intoxylyzer 9510. You have the right to refuse this test but will face an automatic license suspension if you do so. If you wish to seek an independent blood test at a medical facility, let the officer know.


After you take the breath test or refuse it, you will be brought to a holding cell where you will wait for the arrival of a bail commissioner who will decide to either release you on your own recognizance or set bail.

If you have no prior criminal history, you will most likely be released without bail but will need to pay a $40 bail commissioner’s fee. Your car has most likely been towed so you will need a ride home from a friend or family member.

If on the other hand, bail is set, you should give us a call or a loved one who can bail you out. If you cannot post bail, you will remain in custody and be transported to your arraignment when the nearest district court is in session.

Court Procedures After an OUI Arrest in Springfield, MA and Hampden County

OUI Springfield Court Procedure


An arraignment is your first formal appearance in court and usually takes place the day after your arrest. The court will read the charges against you, you will enter a plea of not guilty, and will be given a future court date to appear at a pretrial conference.

We recommend reaching out to our law firm before your arraignment but if you’re unable to do so, you will be ok to manage on your own.

Just tell the court you plan to have a lawyer for future court appearances and make sure to ask the judge for a copy of the police report so we can review.

Pre-Trial Conference

A pre-trial conference will take place 4-6 weeks after the arraignment. At the conference, your lawyer and the assistant district attorney (ADA) prosecuting the case will discuss potential resolutions whether through negotiating a plea deal or going to trial.

At this time, your attorney will also ask the ADA to provide all the evidence the state plans to use against you.

File Motions

A motions hearing enables us to challenge how the evidence in your case was gathered. For example, if the officer did not have a legal basis to stop your vehicle or conducted a search and seizure without probable cause, we can file a motion to suppress evidence.

If successful, your case would be thrown out.

Should I Consider A Continuance Without Finding Plea or Go To Trial in Springfield, MA or Hampden County?

A common dilemma for someone accused of OUI in Massachusetts is deciding whether to accept a plea deal or contest the charge at trial.

OUI attorney Thomas Kokonowski will carefully review your specific situation and recommend a strategy that will deliver the best possible outcome.

Common Plea

OUI Plea Attorney In Springfield

The most common plea deal in an OUI case is a continuance without finding or CWOF. This means you would admit the prosecution has enough evidence to find you guilty but instead of fighting the case you would agree to be placed on probation for one year.

The terms of probation would likely require you to complete a 24D Alcohol Education program, pay fines and fees and incur a 45-day license suspension.

If you successfully satisfy the terms and conditions of probation, your case will be dismissed.


If we go to trial, we will hold the state to their burden of proof. Our top priority is to obtain you a Not Guilty verdict so you can get on with your life. A trial in Massachusetts can be before a judge (bench trial) or jury (group of six people).

Administrative License Suspension

An arrest for DUI in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts triggers two separate proceedings:

A criminal case in court which can impose criminal penalties and an administrative proceeding with the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) which can impose administrative penalties against your driver’s license.

If you refused to take a breath or blood test in Springfield, MA or Hampden County, you will face:

  • 180-day license suspension for a first time OUI
  • 3-year license suspension for a second time OUI
  • 5-year license suspension for a third time OUI

If you took the breath test and failed, you will face:

  • 30-day license suspension

If you want to contest the suspension, you must request a hearing with the Registry of Motor Vehicles within 15 days of your arrest.

Our Massachusetts OUI Attorneys will represent you at this hearing and may be able to get the suspension overturned.

Eligibility for a Hardship License in Springfield, MA or Hampden County

OUI Criminal Charge Defense In Springfield

A hardship license also referred to as a “Cinderella license” is a limited use license that allows you to drive 12 hours a day for work, school or family obligations.

If you are a first-time OUI offender and have received a certain type of disposition or probation, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license right away.

To qualify, you must enter into an alcohol education class and demonstrate a significant hardship.

Consequences of an OUI Conviction in Springfield Massachusetts or Hampden County

Massachusetts has a lifetime look back law for all prior OUI convictions whether within the State or outside of Massachusetts. This means a prosecutor can refer to your past criminal history to escalate your sentence.

Penalties for a First Time OUI Convictions in Springfield, MA or Hampden County

If you are convicted of a first offense OUI, you will face the following penalties:

  • maximum 2.5 years in jail (rarely enforced)
  • $500 fine
  • 1 Year loss of license (not eligible for a hardship license for at least three (3) months)

Alternative First Offense Disposition in Springfield, MA or Hampden County

If you are a first-time OUI offender, you may be deemed eligible to be sentenced under an alternative disposition in lieu of harsher punishment. A section 24D plea disposition consists of:

  • Completing 40 hours of driver alcohol education (DAE) over the course of 16 weeks
  • A license suspension of 45 to 90 days (immediately eligible for a hardship license)
  • One year probation

Penalties for a Second Offense OUI in Springfield, MA or Hampden County

  • 30 days to 30 months in jail
  • fines up to $10,000
  • license suspension for 2 years (eligible for a hardship license after 1 year)
  • installation of an interlock device for 2 years after license reinstatement
  • 14 day confined alcohol education and treatment program

Alternative Disposition Second Offense in Springfield, MA and Hampden County

  • 2 years probation
  • 14 day confined treatment program paid for by the defendant
  • license suspension for 2 years (eligible for a hardship license after 1 year)

Third Offense OUI in Springfield or Hampden County

  • 150 days to 5 years in jail
  • fines up to $15,000
  • 8-year license suspension (eligible for a hardship license after 2 years)
  • installation of an interlock device for 2 years after license reinstatement.

How to Fight an OUI/DUI Charge in Springfield, Massachusetts or Hampden County

Attorney Who Fights OUI Charges

OUI attorney Thomas Kokonowski is devoted to investigating and pursuing every possible defense to beat your OUI charge.

He analyzes the information in the police report, challenge the validity of the evidence, examine the steps taken by the police in conducting any field sobriety, breathalyzer or blood tests, file motions to suppress evidence and statements, and much more.

Here are some of the questions we will ask in an attempt to poke holes in the state’s case:

  • Did the police have a legally sufficient reason to stop your car or to arrest you?
  • Did the police properly administer your field sobriety tests?
  • Did the police properly administer your breath test?
  • Do the calibration and maintenance records indicate problems with the breathalyzer?
  • Do you have a medical condition that would have affected your performance on the field sobriety tests or altered your BAC level?
  • Were your constitutional rights violated?

Experienced OUI Defense for Springfield, MA and Hampden County

OUI attorney Thomas Kokonowski is experienced in drunk driving defense and have a proven record of success in delivering favorable outcomes for clients throughout Western Massachusetts.

Don’t assume that your case is hopeless if you failed a breathalyzer, blood, urine or roadside field sobriety test. There are many ways to effectively challenge the validity of scientific evidence or to exploit errors made by law enforcement.

Springfield Courts

Springfield District Court
50 State St., P.O. Box 2421,
Springfield, MA 01102
Tel: 413-735-6000

Clerk’s Office, Criminal


Clerk’s Office & Probation Department
Monday – Friday:
8:30 am-4:30 pm


Serves: Longmeadow, Springfield, and West Springfield.

Mental Health Court
Forensic Mental Health Services
Adult Court Clinic
Springfield Hall of Justice
50 State St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Tel.: (413) 748-7701
Fax: (413) 737-7157

Adult Drug Court
50 State St., P.O. Box 2421,
Springfield, MA 01102


Clerk’s Office & Probation Department


Monday – Friday:
8:30 am-4:30 pm

Springfield Juvenile Court

80 State Street,
Springfield, MA 01103

Clerk’s Office(413) 748-7860
Probation Department(413) 748-7672


Hampden County Courts

Hampden Superior Court
50 State St., P.O. Box 559,
Springfield, MA 01102
Clerk’s Office(413) 735-6016
Probation Department(413) 748-7653

Monday – Friday:
8:30 am-4:30 pm

Serves: all cities and towns of Hampden County.

Holyoke District Court

20 Court Plaza,
Holyoke, MA 01040


Clerk’s Office(413) 538-9710
Probation Department(413) 598-9712

Monday – Friday:
8:30 am-4:30 pm


Serves: Holyoke

Chicopee District Court

Chicopee, MA 01020

Clerk’s Office (413) 598-0099
Probation Department (413) 594-5921

Monday – Friday:
8:30 am-4:30 pm


Serves: Chicopee

Get Help Today

Whether through skilled negotiation or tough litigation at trial, Thomas Kokonowski will mount the best defense possible in an attempt to lessen your charges or eliminate them completely.

If you or a loved one is facing an OUI charge in Hampshire, Hampden or Franklin County, it is critical to call an OUI attorney immediately. Arrange for a free consultation today.