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What to Know When Dealing with a DWI Charge in Massachusetts

It can be nerve-wracking getting pulled over for any reason, especially if it has not happened to you before. It is even more so if you believe it is for suspicion of operating or driving a vehicle while intoxicated. If you find yourself in this position, here are some tips from a Boston DWI attorney to help see you through.

While you are still in your car

The first thing you should do is remain calm. People frequently panic when faced with the prospect of a DWI. However, until the officer explicitly informs you of the charge, you cannot know anything for sure. If you stay calm, you will think clearly, which allows you to process the officer’s words better. Also, be polite. In any other circumstance, you would treat an officer with respect and be cooperative. When you are rude or defensive, it won’t do you any favors. 

That said, don’t admit to anything. The officer will observe your behavior and evaluate you for signs of intoxication. If he or she asks you directly if you had been drinking, tell them that your attorney has advised you against answering questions like these. Anything you say can incriminate you, and officers are not obliged to state this during an OUI stop.

If they ask you to step out of your car

When the officer requests you to step out of your vehicle, you must comply. However, you should politely refuse field sobriety or breathalyzer tests. If you reach this point, expect an arrest. Even if you are taken in, you must remain calm and cooperative.

When you are at the station

Respond to queries about your identification politely. However, do not answer questions about where you have been or whether you had been drinking. By law, the officers will ask you again to take a breath test. You have a legal right to refuse; failure means getting your license suspended for 30 days, while refusal equals 180 days. Even before a DWI conviction, a suspension for failing a breathalyzer test would apply. 

You could face an additional penalty from a guilty verdict, which prolongs the period during which you cannot use your vehicle. Though refusing the test means having a longer suspension at first, it increases your chances of winning in court. It is crucial to get a Massachusetts criminal attorney to advise you about what could happen at this point.

What to know while the case is pending

In Massachusetts law, you can request a hearing with the Registry of Motor Vehicles to restore your driving rights, but you must place your request within ten days of your license suspension. 

Also, you have the right to be represented by an attorney during the proceedings. While the case is pending, you can also reinstate your license, for which the RMV will require a reinstatement fee.

When you undergo a trial

A reinstatement during your case’s pendency does not mean you’ll automatically win your case. You could lose your license again if you are found guilty, and the length of suspension depends on the facts of the case. Any prior convictions will also affect the decision.


A possible DWI charge in Massachusetts does not have to be intimidating. As long as you know what you have to do, and what you have the right to refuse, you will not incriminate yourself. It is vital to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to get the best outcomes.

As a top DWI attorney in Boston, Frank Fernandez knows the best trial strategies that can help you win against a drunk driving charge. With experience in both state and federal courts, you’re sure to get the upper hand when you choose The Fernandez Firm. Book a consultation today to learn more.