OUI & DUI Lawyers in Springfield, MA

OUI Arrest In Springfield, MA

Have You Been Charged With Drunk Driving in Hampshire, Hampden, or Franklin County?

Drunk driving or Operating Under the Influence (OUI) is a serious crime in Massachusetts. 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.

Massachusetts 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

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

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

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

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

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

An OUI attorney from Kokonowski & 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, 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

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 Massachusetts

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 Conviction

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

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 Massachusetts

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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 Massachusetts

Attorney Who Fights OUI Charges

The OUI attorneys at the Law Office Of Thomas Kokonowski are devoted to investigating and pursuing every possible defense to beat your OUI charge.

We analyze 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

The OUI attorneys at the Law Office Of Thomas Kokonowski are 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.

Get Help Today

Whether through skilled negotiation or tough litigation at trial, we 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.