What Are Some Defenses for a DUI in Massachusetts?

Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Massachusetts can lead to serious consequences like license suspension, heavy fines, and even jail time. But just because you’ve been charged doesn’t mean you’re guilty. There are several defenses that could potentially beat a DUI charge in MA. Here are some of the most common DUI defenses to consider if you’ve been arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts:

The Stop Was Illegal

One way to beat a DUI in MA is to challenge the legality of the initial traffic stop. In order for the stop to be valid, the police officer must have reasonable suspicion that you committed a traffic violation or crime. If the officer didn’t have proper justification for pulling you over, any evidence gathered after the stop could be suppressed and the DUI charges dismissed.

Some examples of illegal stops include: being pulled over for a minor equipment violation like a faulty brake light, being racially profiled, or getting stopped at a drunk driving checkpoint that didn’t follow proper procedures. An experienced DUI defense attorney can analyze the facts of your traffic stop and determine if there are grounds to allege it was unlawful.

The Arrest Was Not Supported by Probable Cause

After being stopped, the officer must have probable cause to make a DUI arrest. Probable cause means there were specific facts and circumstances for the officer to reasonably believe you were operating under the influence. For example, the officer may have smelled alcohol on your breath, observed slurred speech or poor coordination, or you failed field sobriety tests.

If the officer arrested you for DUI despite no evidence of impairment, your defense attorney can file a motion arguing lack of probable cause. If successful, the charges can be reduced or dismissed due to the invalid arrest.

You Were Not Actually Driving

One of the key elements of a DUI offense is that you were operating the vehicle while impaired. Therefore, you can defeat a DUI charge by proving you were not actually driving at the time. For instance, if you pulled over to switch drivers or sleep it off in the parked car, you may have a defense.

Your attorney will look for evidence like witness statements or surveillance video to show someone else was driving at the time in question. Just being behind the wheel with the keys in the ignition does not automatically mean you were operating the vehicle while intoxicated.

The Breathalyzer Test Was Faulty

The results of breath, blood, or urine testing can provide persuasive evidence of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). However, there are many ways these tests can produce falsely high results. Some examples include:

  • Improperly calibrated or maintained equipment
  • Contaminated chemical solutions
  • Testing conducted too long after driving
  • Medical conditions like diabetes or acid reflux

An experienced DUI lawyer will scrutinize the reliability of any BAC testing and possibly get the results excluded from evidence. Without this key evidence, the prosecution’s case will be significantly weakened.

You Were Not Over the Legal Limit

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. But just because you had alcohol in your system does not mean you were over the limit. Factors like your weight, metabolic rate, and how much food you ate can impact BAC results.

Additionally, your attorney can argue that any margin of error in the testing process puts your actual BAC below 0.08%. With expert testimony about these testing variables, you may be able to show that the prosecution cannot prove you were legally impaired while driving.

The Officer Did Not Properly Administer Field Sobriety Tests

Standardized field sobriety tests (FSTs) like the walk-and-turn and one-leg stand can frequently lead to wrongful DUI arrests when not administered correctly. In order for FST results to be admissible in court, the officer must have administered them in strict accordance with police protocol.

Any deviation from the official procedures – like not giving clear instructions – can invalidate the results. Your lawyer will look for mistakes made by the officer when conducting FSTs to get this evidence thrown out.

You Were Not Read Your Miranda Rights

After a DUI arrest, the officer must properly read you your Miranda rights before interrogation at the police station or in a patrol car. If they question you without doing so, your lawyer can argue that any incriminating statements you made should be suppressed.

Violations of your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination can serve as grounds to get damaging admissions excluded from the prosecution’s case against you.

Fighting a DUI charge and avoiding harsh penalties requires being aggressive and identifying legal errors the police may have made. An experienced drunk driving defense attorney will know how to examine every aspect of your arrest to find ways to get the charges reduced or dismissed. With sound legal advice and advocacy, it is possible to successfully beat a DUI in Massachusetts.

Contact Us Now

If you or someone you love has been arrested or charged with a crime in Massachusetts, you need the top-notch defense team at Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Kokonowski. With offices in Amherst and Northampton, Attorney Kokonowski brings nearly 30 years of unmatched criminal trial experience to protect your rights.

As a former Hampden County prosecutor, Attorney Kokonowski conducted approximately 30 criminal trials even before finishing law school. This gave him an insider view of prosecutorial strategies so he could better defend the accused. After passing the bar exam on his first attempt, Attorney Kokonowski joined the District Attorney’s office as a full-time prosecutor to gain more invaluable experience.

Over the next few years, he engaged in around 100 additional criminal hearings and trials. When Attorney Kokonowski entered private practice in 1994, he had the skills, knowledge, and tenacity to take on tough cases and fight aggressively for his clients.

Attorney Kokonowski handles all types of criminal matters from misdemeanors to serious felonies. He is not afraid to file motions attacking constitutional violations and litigate them all the way to preserve your rights. With his deep understanding of criminal procedure and law enforcement tactics, Attorney Kokonowski can locate issues like improper searches or failure to provide Miranda rights.

If your case goes to trial, you have a tireless fighter in your corner. Attorney Kokonowski’s proven record of dismissals and not guilty verdicts speaks for itself. He knows how to craft a compelling defense targeting any flaws or inconsistencies in the prosecutor’s case.

Beyond criminal defense, Attorney Kokonowski also represents clients in civil litigation including personal injury lawsuits and contract disputes. This diverse courtroom experience gives him creative skills to approach your criminal case from every angle.

Don’t take chances with your future – call Attorney Kokonowski today at (413) 585-9200 or (413) 549-0022 for experienced and aggressive representation. His unique background as a prosecutor provides inside knowledge of the system that could make all the difference in defending your case. Let this relentless trial lawyer use his unparalleled experience to be your voice in the courtroom. Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Thomas Kokonowski today!


Q: What should I do if I’m pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving?

A: If you’re stopped by police on suspicion of DUI, it’s important to remain calm and cooperative. Be respectful, but don’t answer any substantive questions or agree to any tests before consulting a lawyer. Politely state you wish to exercise your right to remain silent and request an attorney. This can help prevent self-incrimination.

Q: How can I challenge the validity of a DUI traffic stop?

A: An experienced DUI defense lawyer can argue the traffic stop was unlawful if the officer didn’t have reasonable suspicion you committed a traffic violation or crime prior to the stop. For example, if you were stopped arbitrarily or due to a minor equipment defect like a faulty brake light. The burden is on the officer to justify the legal basis for the stop.

Q: What happens if the breathalyzer test was improperly conducted?

A: Faulty administration of a breathalyzer test can render the results inadmissible and invalid as evidence of intoxication. An attorney can challenge the test if the equipment wasn’t properly maintained or calibrated, the officer didn’t follow protocols, or factors like your medical conditions skewed the results. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case against you.



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