WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU RECEIVE A SUMMONS FOR A DUI?
6 attorney answers
You would not be arrested after the hearing. If the complaint issues, then you would receive a notice to appear in Court on a future date for arraignment. An attorney may or may not be able to prevent the complaint from issuing, however he or she would make sure you did not speak at the hearing as they are often recorded and any admissions/statements could be obtained by the DA's office. If you go without an attorney, be sure not to speak about the facts. A combination of alcohol and prescription drugs can be enough to convict you of OUI, even if the alcohol is below the legal limit.
OUI Drugs is a very difficult charge for the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. However, if they found alcohol in your system at the hospital, the Police or the DA can subpoena your medical records to obtain the results of your blood tests. It is imperative that you object to this. Whether you're charged with OUI Drugs or OUI Alcohol, you will need a defense attorney to help you in preventing the government from obtaining your medical records. Without your medical records it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible to prove the case against you.
As for what you should do, you've already done the most important thing. Request a Clerk Magistrates Hearing. The next step of the process will be to hire an attorney to represent you at that hearing. A skilled defense attorney, particularly one that focuses their practice on OUI/DUI/DWI related offenses, can often times get these charges dismissed or reduced at a clerk's hearing.
In an OUI/DUI/DWI offense, whether Drugs or Alcohol, the Commonwealth must prove that you (1) operated a motor vehicle (2) that you did so on a public way and (3) that at the time your ability to do so safely was impaired by the ingestion of drugs or alcohol. At a clerk's hearing the standard is probable cause; in a criminal case the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. Probable Cause is a substantial likelihood that the element has been proven. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is the highest level of certainty possible in human events. Clerk's hearings are obviously easier for the government to meet their burden than at a criminal trial; however, it is also the earliest point in the criminal process. At a clerk's hearing, the government has yet to gather all of the evidence against you for presentation to the clerk. This is the best time to challenge that evidence and get the charges dismissed or reduced before you're arraigned on them and the charge enters on your criminal record.
Best of luck.
The information conveyed in this response is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney client relationship.
It is not a good idea to go to the hearing without a lawyer. Anything you say there can be used against you if and when the case goes into criminal court. Although alcohol may have been found in your system, the issue is how much alcohol. It must be .08 BAC or greater to convict you of OUI alcohol. That is also a charge a DA could add later after obtaining hospital records. These cannot be obtained without a court order so the people at the hearing will not know of your alcohol level and you should certainly not admit to drinking anything. You also may receive a letter from the RMV declaring you an IMMEDIATE THREAT and suspending your license immediately and indefinitely This is a very difficult suspension to overturn. The RMV won't even consider doing so until the court case is resolved and that could take some time, perhaps many months. Also, if either child is under 14, you can be charged with CHILD ENDANGERMENT WHILE OU which carries a one year license loss and a 90 day mandatory jail sentence. You definitely need a lawyer for all this.
First, stop talking about the facts of the case here on a public message board. If the District Attorney's office saw what you say allegedly happened they could try to use it against you. Second, hire a criminal defense lawyer to represent you. If you don't show up for the court date on that summons a warrant will most likely issue for your arrest. The situation you describe is something that can be defended by an experienced criminal defense attorney but is not something you can do on your own.
You can find an attorney to represent you right here in the answers section (we cannot advertise directly for ourselves per the rules of AVVO) or through the find a lawyer section of AVVO. Most criminal attorneys offer free consults. Best of luck.
Failing to appear in court when summoned can result in a warrant. In a case such as the one you describe it is absolutely imperative that you contact a local DUI attorney immediately.
You should hire the best Criminal Defense lawyer that you can afford. OUI drug cases are often very triable cases, meaning they can be beat. That is by no means an analysis or prediction of your particular case. You need an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case and advise you as to how to best proceed to get the best outcome possible for you. As in sports, home field advantage does play a large roll in Criminal Defense. A lawyer who practices in the court in which you were charged will know the idiosyncrasies of the judge and prosecutors in that court. If you do not already have an attorney, you can call me at (508) 752-7500. The initial telephone consultation is free.
The response above is a general statement and is not specific legal advice. The response in no way constitutes or creates am attorney client realaction ship. Any response is based upon Massachusetts laws only. Other states and jurisdictions may vary.