I get this question several times each week. Someone gets arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts. This is their first OUI and usually their first time having to go to court. After the initial shock and embarrassment wears off they start thinking about defending the case and ultimately how much the case is going to cost them. In order for me to properly answer that question I have to go through several scenarios with them to make sure they understand how the process works and what they are facing. There are however some short answers I can give them right away. Here they are along with the questions.
I Just Want to Plead Guilty So That I Can Get My License Back As Quickly As Possible
Okay. If this is the way you want to resolve your case here is what you are looking at. If this is a routine first offense OUI case you are probably going to get a continuance without a finding. You will be able to get the 24D program. This means probation for one year with a probation supervision fee of sixty-five dollars per month. That comes out to $780 for probation. Plus, there is a $500 dollar fine. There is a $50 dollar victim fund fee. Don’t forget the alcohol awareness program. That is another $600. And of course you also have to pay your lawyer. Attorney fees in Massachusetts for a first offense OUI plea start around $1,500 and most experienced lawyers charge more. This makes your minimum total, for a change of plea around $3,500. So, at this point I ask my client do you really want to plead out just so you can start driving sooner? It might be more prudent to go to trial and try to win your case.
What If I Want to Go To Trial? How Much is That Going to Cost Me?
For first offense OUI cases in Massachusetts the going rate for experienced lawyers ranges from $3,500 to $10,000 to try your case. If you lose, you can expect to have to pay the same fines and fees set out above, roughly $2,000. If you win, not only are the fees irrelevant but your operating privileges will be restored without restriction.
Are There Any Additional Fees Associated With First Offense OUI Cases in Massachusetts?
There can be. This depends on your particular case and how you choose to defend it. Sometimes it is a good idea to hire an investigator to establish or corroborate facts critical to your defense. Let’s say that you have witnesses who were out with you that evening but remained at the bar after you left. They will testify that you were not impaired in any way when you left and that you left around 11:00 p.m. Assume you got pulled over forty-five minutes later. An investigator can go out and ride your route at around the same time and establish for the jury your credibility; i.e. that it took forty-five minutes to get from the bar to place where you were picked up. Usually investigators charge between $500 and $1,000 for OUI investigations. Other fees include hiring a toxicologist. These folks can be expensive with prices ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. Toxicologists can establish what your blood alcohol would have been under the circumstances of your case. For instance, assume you had three beers over a certain period of time. Toxicologists can sometimes testify that given your height, weight, the quantity of alcohol and the time that elapsed that your blood alcohol would have only been “x”. I have had great success when using toxicologists in OUI cases.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman is committed to defending the accused. Call us at 617-263-6800 if you need a Massachusetts OUI lawyer.