Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer in Boston

What Are My Rights If I am Pulled Over For Driving Drunk in Boston?

What are your rights if you were pulled over for drunk driving in Boston after a night out with friends?


The Initial Stop


As soon as you notice an officer is behind you with the flashing lights and the sirens blaring, after checking that it is safe to do so, pull over.  Pull your vehicle over to the right as far as you can.  If possible, stop in an area that is well lit and will not impede other traffic.


Avoid reaching for anything or moving about while seated in the vehicle.  Roll your window down and stay still until the officer approaches the car.   The officer may immediately ask you for your license, registration, and if your vehicle is registered in another state, proof of insurance.  Locate the paperwork in a calm fashion and hand it over to the officer in a respectful way.  At this point the officer will likely inform you why he is stopping you if he has not already done so.


Understanding Your Rights


If the officer believes that you have been drinking, he or she may suddenly start asking you a lot of questions.  You do not have to provide answers to any of these questions.  Answering questions may only provide the officer with more reason to place you under arrest.  Instead of answering any questions, you should politely inform the officer that you do not wish to answer any questions.


If you answer certain questions, they may be misinterpreted and then used against you.  If you had more than a few drinks, it is possible that you could slur your words or the officer could detect an odor of alcohol as you are speaking with them.  This is why it is better to let the officer know you prefer not to answer.  The officer may ask you if you were out drinking or where you were coming from, such as a bar or club.  Again, do not answer these questions.


When the officer makes a request for you to do any field sobriety tests, let the officer politely know that you decline to submit to the tests.  These tests are way too subjective and performing them will provide additional information for the officer to put in his report, this is simply not worth it.

The field sobriety tests are designed to have you make certain movements as well as dividing your attention during the tests.  Even if you make the slightest mistake, he or she may assume that you are drunk, even if you are having difficulty completing the test because you are nervous or tired.  There are some people who have issues with their balance due to neurological issues and struggle to walk in a straight line while sober, so why take the risk of getting accused of something simply because you do not pass the field sobriety test?


The officer may request that you take a breath test on the side of the roadway, politely decline.  The breath test device used is called a PBT for portable breathalyzer test.  The results of this breath test DOES NOT determine your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for criminal purposes and will not result in you losing your license for refusing the test.  The result of this test is usually accurate enough to determine your BAC level to within .02%.  The results of this test (if you provide it) will also be included in the officer’s report.  In addition, the officer can use this test combined with any other information to decide whether or not to place you under arrest.  Remember, that any blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit of .08% can result in criminal charges in Massachusetts.



Depending on the observations and interactions that the officer has had of you he may opt to arrest you.  If you are taken to the station, you will among other things be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test there.  Refusing the breathalyzer test at the station will result in your license being suspended for at least 180 days or up to life.  Your best course of action is once again to refuse to submit to the test.  These testing devices are not always the most accurate.


As soon as you leave the station, make sure to document everything that happened with the officer who pulled you over and then retain the services of a criminal attorney with drunk driving defense experience as soon as possible.  There are plenty of experienced DUI lawyers in Massachusetts that should have a local Boston office that you can contact.  Certain rights are only available for a limited time after your arrest so you should act fast.


Of course it is best to remain alcohol free if you plan to drive your car.  If you decide to drink it is best to have a designated driver, walk, or take a taxi.  You never know when a traffic stop for a simple infraction can turn into an arrest for drunk driving.