When you receive a DUI charge in Massachusetts, your right to a normal life hangs in the balance. This is true no matter whether your case is tried in a Norfolk, Worcester, or Essex County court. Drunk driving convictions anywhere in the state come with potentially harsh consequences. It’s worth investing in a DUI attorney---or an OUI attorney, to use the correct verbiage for Massachusetts—to give you the best chance to keep your life on track.
Many folks mistakenly believe that Massachusetts laws always deliver a lenient sentence for a first OUI charge. While it’s true that most first offenders can resolve the case without serving jail time, this is not guaranteed. And any case mishandled by an inexperienced attorney will come with a higher risk of conviction (and the consequences that follow).
Even if you know the risks, it can seem appealing to save some money by going with a public defender or even representing yourself at the trial. For example, let’s consider the following hypothetical situation: You’ve been charged with OUI and face a trial in an Essex County court. What are your options?
- It’s well within your rights to represent yourself, but it isn’t wise. No amount of internet research can replace the professional training and years of trial experience of a qualified DUI/OUI attorney in an Essex County court.
- If you qualify, you could opt for a public defender, but their services usually do not address the collateral RMV consequences. You’ll be on your own to handle any hearings, appeals, and applications for reinstatement around civil or administrative components (such as RMV-imposed license suspensions).
- A private lawyer specialized in OUI/DUI charges has focused experience, the motivation to protect you, and will be available to help you throughout the process. There’s a good reason most defendants go this route.
Why Get an Attorney for a DUI in an Essex County Court?
You’ll want a local Essex County attorney familiar with the nuances and case precedents in the region. They’ll have the most tools available to help with your case. A public defender from Essex County court would know the local system as well, but there are at least two compelling reasons, both supported by a Nolo research study, to go with a private OUI attorney:
1. Private Lawyers Outperform Public Defenders
The stats don’t lie; public defenders barely outperform folks who choose to defend themselves. Again, your life is in the balance. Every advantage you can muster is worth it to prevent a DUI from hitting your criminal record for life.
2. You’ll Be More Satisfied With the Outcome—And Your Defense
Public defense attorneys receive the lowest level of defendant satisfaction—even less than those who defended themselves. Meanwhile, folks who retained private legal counsel were 34% more satisfied with the results of the case than those who opted to use a public defender (and 47% more satisfied with their representation).
There’s no way around it—a private OUI defense attorney, with demonstrated experience winning cases in Essex County courts, is your best possible opportunity to achieve a positive outcome. And you’ll feel much more confident that no stone was left unturned while constructing your defense.