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Attorney Daniel Sandell is a Criminal Defense  Lawyer serving Amherst, Belchertown, Hadley, Northampton, Springfield, Greenfield, Holyoke, and the surrounding area in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts.

Criminal Defense: Drunk Driving / DUI (Driving Under the Influence) / DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) - Criminal Defense in Western Mass

A police officer stands next to a car that has been stopped. Driving under the influence, or drunk driving, is a serious offense often leading to fines, suspended drivers’ licenses, or even jail time.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts takes drunk driving or drinking while driving very seriously. Severe penalties are levied to multiple offenders. If you have been pulled over and arrested for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) that is a grave matter and you definitely need a good criminal defense attorney in your corner. OUI law is highly complex.

There is a confusing array of penalties for first time and subsequent offenses for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Numerous factors come into play when defending a drunk driving charge. Such factors can include: whether an accident was involved and whether there was any injury to whomever was involved. You can be picked up and placed under arrest for a OUI while operating any type of vehicle: cars, motorcycles, and trucks.

You can even be arrested for OUI for driving drunk in a boat. You might have attracted an officer’s attention by driving erratically, caught at a roadblock or a sobriety checkpoint. You might also have had an open alcohol container in the vehicle, which is a separate type of infraction. With an OUI arrest there are administrative penalties and legal consequences.

These include actions the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will take against you and criminal penalties such as fines, community service, and prison time. At the RMV hearing with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation, the defendant bears the burden of proving their innocence. OUI laws are state-specific, and Massachusetts OUI laws are stringent. Like other states, Massachusetts has a “zero-tolerance” policy, imposing severe penalties to those under the drinking minimum age of 21 who are caught driving under the influence. The legal alcohol limit for minors is a blood alcohol level at or above 0.02%. Massachusetts’ “per se” law dictates that a blood or breath alcohol level (BAL – or BAC, for blood alcohol content) over 0.08% is proof of intoxication and grounds for arrest. But even without the breathalyzer tests, any patrolman can positively determine that you are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle based on your behavior or performance on the sobriety exam even if you pass the breath test.

Melanie's Law imposes especially serious penalties and license suspensions on repeat OUI offenders. An OUI conviction remains on your record for life.

Refusal to take a breath test and/or a field sobriety test at the scene cannot be used in court as evidence of guilt, so it might be a wise course not to take them – but such a refusal automatically results in a mandatory 180-day suspension of your driver's license in a first offense case. A second-offense refusal results in a three year suspension. If you fail the breath test, your license will be suspended for 30 days. In either case, the arresting officer will confiscate your license on the spot. If you fail a breath test (Draeger Alcotest) at the police station, however, that fact WILL be used in court.

The Law Office of Attorney Dan Sandell provides experienced crimiinal defense lawyers who focus their practice on OUI defense, Criminal Defense, and personal injury matters. We proudly serve Amherst, Northampton, Hadley, South Hadley, Holyoke, Chicopee, Westfield, Springfield, the five-College area and all of the surrounding areas in the Pioneer Valley and Western Worcester County.

Regardless of how much research you do into OUI law, it is vital to retain a criminal defense lawyer to represent you if you want to get the best deal possible given your circumstances. The web is a wondrous source of information, but a skilled attorney’s training and experience are irreplaceable. Vigorous representation by an experienced drunk driving lawyer dramatically increases your chances of avoiding a conviction, or of obtaining a favorable deal with the district attorney’s office. Juries acquit OUI defendants in about half the cases, so the situation need not be seen as hopeless. Furthermore, the earliest possible intervention improves your odds of preserving helpful evidence, obtaining fresh witness testimony, and preparing for the DA's case against you.

This is not a decision to postpone or delay. You should consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will take you through the entire process, from arraignment to pre-trial conference, through motions, hearings, trial (if necessary), and sentencing (if there’s a guilty verdict). We can even assist you with probation, parole, and supervised release programs if you require it. Attorney Sandell has developed relationships with those who matter in the local court system. We do the most extensive research and have a wonderful assortment of highly respected experts and investigators to bring to your defense.

Please feel free to call us at 413-549-3883 or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Want more information?

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We hope you will find the information  on this site helpful. Please be aware that material on this website is provided for informational purposes only and may be considered advertising pursuant to the rules of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The material contained on this website is not intended and should not be intended as legal advice for your individualized matter. This information does not constitute legal advice and does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship. Any readers of this information should not act or rely on any information provided herein without consulting legal counsel. It is cruicial to contact an attorney prior to making any important decisions regarding your legal rights.

Feel Free to contact Dan Sandell at 413-549-3883 to schedule a free consultation. The Law Offices of Daniel Sandell are located in downtown Amherst Massachusetts. We assist clients throughout Western Massachusetts who come to us with DWI/DUI/OUI and various criminal issues



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