Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (OUI - Drugs)- Massachusetts

Massachusetts OUI-Drugs Lawyer

In Massachusetts, Operating Under the Influence of Drugs (OUI-Drugs) is very similar to OUI-alcohol. The penalties are the same, and the way I approach the case is very similar as well. The same problems in the OUI investigations exist, and often times it is even more difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were under the influence of drugs.

In order to be found guilty of OUI-drugs, the first 3 elements are the same as OUI-alcohol, and the prosecution must prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. You were operating a motor vehicle (the “operation” element)
  2. You were operating that motor vehicle on a public way (the “public way” element)
  3. At the time you operated the motor vehicle on a public way, you were doing so under the influence of alcohol or drugs (the” intoxication” element)
  4. There is an additional element in OUI-drugs cases that the prosecution must prove:

  5. The drugs you were under the influence of are within a specific class of banned substances (marijuana, heroin, opiates, stimulants, depressants)

OUI-drugs cases can present many problems for the prosecution. The general public is less familiar with the effects of drugs than with the effects of alcohol on a person. It is much easier to recognize when someone is under the influence of alcohol. For this reason, I have been successful at discrediting prosecution witnesses (usually the police who observed and arrested you), as most are not drug recognition experts (DRE's) and therefore should not be testifying that they "believed" you were under the influence of drugs. We can all recognize someone who is drunk- they smell like booze, they slur their speech, they lose coordination, etc. However, the effects of other drugs are not as easily recognizable.  The indicators of drug consumption may be identical to symptoms of certain health problems (dilated pupils, for example) or side effects from valid prescription medication (such as drowsiness or heavy eyelids). Further, unless the arresting officer is a "drug recognition expert" (DRE), he/she will not be able to testify as to the specific drug he/she believes you consumed without corroborating evidence, such as the presence of the drug itself in your car. This creates a problem for the prosecution, as they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were under the influence of a drug that is specifically included in the “banned substance” list under applicable Massachusetts law. In the rare event that the arresting officer is a DRE, or if a DRE showed up at the scene or just after you were arrested, there is a very specific 12-step evaluation that must be followed. Many times, the DRE does not follow the proper protocol, in which case we may be able to have damaging evidence of that evidence suppressed (not admitted at trial). In any case, once we fully investigate and dissect your case, the prosecution will likely have very minimal evidence by the time your case is set for trial. 


Contact my office if you've been charged with a Massachusetts OUI or any other criminal offense. I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for your free initial phone consultation.

Boston DUI Defense Lawyer


Urbelis Law, LLC
98 North Washington St.
Suite 403
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: (617) 830-2188