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Federal OUI

If you’ve been charged in federal court with Operating Under the Influence, it is important to speak to a qualified federal OUI attorney. Attorney Sam Zaganjori is an experienced trial attorney that will fight for you. He is a member of the Criminal Justice Act Panel, a selective group of attorneys that represent indigent defendants in federal court. He is a Woburn-based OUI attorney that represents clients in federal court in Boston, Worcester and Cape Cod.

Why Is My OUI Case in Federal Court?

The vast majority of OUI cases are prosecuted in state court. However, the case can be brought in federal court if it is alleged to have occurred on federal land or property. It may not always be obvious to someone that they are under federal jurisdiction. For example, the Cape Cod National Seashore is considered federal land. Another example is the Charlestown Navy Yard. Other examples include military bases, federal parks, national military parks, battlefield sites and national monuments. If someone is arrested for OUI in one of these areas, the case may be brought in federal court.

How Is an OUI Case Different in Federal Court?

There are important differences between OUI law in Massachusetts courts and in federal court. One major difference is the law as it applies to breathalyzer tests. In Massachusetts, it is not a crime to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. In fact, the refusal cannot even be used against the defendant at trial.

Federal court treats breathalyzers very differently. Under some circumstances, it can actually be a separate crime to refuse to take a breathalyzer test. In many federal OUI cases, a defendant can find himself criminally charged with both OUI and a refusal to take a breathalyzer.

The potential penalties can also be different in federal court. A federal OUI case can be brought under the Code of Federal Regulations or the Assimilative Crimes Act, depending on the location of the offense. This will determine the range of potential penalties which can differ significantly from a state OUI case. It is important to have an attorney who is familiar with the different penalties that may apply in a federal case, including the effect that the case can have on the client’s right to operate a motor vehicle.

Defending a Federal OUI Case

Regardless of why an OUI case is in federal court, it is essential to aggressively defend against the charges. Prior to trial, there may be motions to file to either dismiss the case or to have evidence thrown out. For example, a person charged with OUI can seek to suppress evidence if it was seized after an illegal motor vehicle stop or an illegal search. A defendant can also file motions for discovery to force the prosecution to turn over all relevant evidence in the case.

At trial, it is critical to have an experienced trial attorney who will aggressively cross-examine the government’s witnesses. OUI cases often involve so-called “field sobriety tests.” Police officers use these procedures at the scene of a motor vehicle stop to determine if the driver might be impaired. Many commonly-used field sobriety tests can be shown to be unreliable or subjective. It is important for an OUI attorney to challenge the reliability of field sobriety tests at trial.

Call a Federal OUI Lawyer

Attorney Sam Zaganjori is a federal OUI attorney. He represents clients in federal court in Boston, Worcester and Cape Cod. He offers a free consultation. He will take the time to honestly explain your options with regard to your OUI case. He will explain the process and recommend the best course of action. If you have been charged with an OUI in federal court, call him today at 781-496-2848.