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Can I get oui punishment lowered if I was fleeing harm's way?

Peabody, MA |

I was at a family party with in-laws. They were very drunk and I was tipsy. An argument ensued which turned violent against me. My ex husband dragged me in a choke hold to my car and forced me inside and screamed at me to leave. His sister was kicking my car and trying to hit me. I drove out of driveway but did not leave as I felt too impaired. I did not know they had called police. Again they came at car kicking it and jumping on it and screaming for me to leave. My daughter was in the window and it was breaking my heart. Fearing for my life, car, and daughters trauma over witnessing, I left immediate scene, and the police who had been called were immediately there seconds after i left driveway. They pulled me over although i was driving ok, and arrested me. I was over oui limit.

All I wanted to do was to get my car and physical body out of that situation. I had not driven recklessly, or for very long (seconds). My ex lives in a very well to do area and the police were very young and novices. They had no reason to pull me over other than the fact that I had been identified. On the police report, they claimed I was driving erratically (I KNOW I was not) they said my eyes were bloodshot (I had just gotten choked). I filed an assault charge against ex the following day after my arrest as the police did NOT follow up that night on my telling them I had been assaulted, and I thought this would be pertinent to the oui charge. Any suggestions? Thank you very much.

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Attorney answers 4

Posted

The punishment for on OUI is typically the same, there is no way to have it lowered only judges may be more strict. Given the facts as you stated there is a good chance the judge would impose the least of a punishment as possible. It is still a continued without a finding and a 45 day loss of license along with a 24d class and fines.

Asker

Posted

The police still had no reason to pull me over other than the fact that I had been identified as leaving intoxicated. It even states on the initial police report that the reason they were called to the house is that the person (me) was refusing to leave ( I did NOT want to drive) They physically attacked me, as well as violated my car. I have bruises (documented doctor), photos of my dented car, etc. I had removed my car just to get out of harms way. It was a matter of seconds of me driving (just to get out of danger and they would NOT let me out of the car! I feel like I was set up and I want to some how fight this, or get this recuced to the lowest of sentences hoping the judge will be sympathetic, and this is my first offense of any kind. The assault was un-provoked, un-warranted, and I am the victim here. The surely has to be SOME kind of understanding regarding this system!

Posted

Your post did not indicate how much over the limit your breatherlyzer test was. Depending on the results, you may have a defense that makes this a case to consider taking to trial. Justification is generally not a defense to an OUI charge though it is something to consider if you with to take the case to trial. With respect to sentencing, the Court is severely limited in what it can do as the "punishment" (as you put it) for an OUI is specifically dictated by statute and Judges have minimal discretion in terms of punishment. You should consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you know your options. Please see my web site for more information and good luck.

Attorney Eric Schutzbank is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The above information is not legal advice and is merely intended for educational purposes. No attorney-client relationship has been established between the author of the post and Attorney Eric Schutzbank

Posted

Given the facts as you state them, you may have a defense of necessity. If you raise necessity as a defense, before you can be convicted, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your actions were not the only way for you to avoid reasonably perceived danger, which was clear and imminent.

Have a lawyer evaluate your case for a necessity defense.

Posted

You should have an attorney review the facts in the police report/complaint. Your attorney may be able to challenge successfully the initial stop by the police and any evidence they gathered against you after the stop (breathalyzer, roadside test, statements, etc.). Your story is missing some facts. For example: How did the police know to stop you, were the in-laws pointing you out to them? Did the police see you leave the driveway? Did the police cite you for any other moving violations? Good luck!

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