So you’ve been pulled over, arrested, and charged with Operating Under the Influence in Massachusetts. What happens next?
You will need to appear in district court for the arraignment, which will typically be scheduled for the next business day after your arrest. During the arraignment the charges against you will be formally recorded, your plea is entered, and a future court date is set. You should also obtain a copy of your police report at this time, so that your attorney can look it over and plan your defense.
At the pre-trial conference the defense and prosecution discuss a possible settlement. If you choose to make an admission to the charges (CWOF or guilty plea), we can help you apply for a hardship license to reduce the inconvenience of having your license suspended.
You have a right to a trial by jury in front of 6 of your peers, or you may choose to have a bench trial. In a bench trial there is no jury. The judge makes the final determination of guilt or innocence. We can help you choose which type of trial will be most advantageous for you. The trial proceeds with openings statements by the attorneys for the prosecution and the defense (although these are often waived in bench trials), the presentation of evidence, including the examination and cross-examination of witnesses, and final closing statements from the attorneys. Then either the jury or the judge render the verdict of guilty or not guilty. In a jury trial, all 6 jurors must find you guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to convict.
The court will impose a sentence after a guilty verdict or plea, which, depending on the charges, may include jail time, fines, community service, and/or mandatory alcohol education classes, in addition to your license being suspended.
Additional court appearances may be necessary during the preparation and duration of your case. For example, if we determine that your Constitutional rights may have been violated during the course of your arrest, we may file a Motion to Suppress to try and get that evidence thrown out. This would necessitate a Suppression Hearing, which would take place after the Pre-Trial Conference, but before the trial itself.