In this podcast with Board Certified OUI lawyer Mike Bowser of Bowser Law, you can learn about possible OUI defense in Massachusetts courts and what to expect when you’re faced with an OUI in MA.
John Maher: Hi. I’m John Maher. I’m here today with Mike Bowser, a board-certified DUI defense lawyer practicing in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Today we’re talking about OUI defense in Massachusetts courts. Welcome, Mike.
Mike Bowser: Good morning.
Recent Massachusetts Court Dates
John: Mike, what courts around Massachusetts have you had court dates out recently?
Mike: Oh jeez. Recently I’ve had enough trials in the last few months in Newbury Port, Oxbridge, which is down in Worcester County. I’ve been on trial in Brockton, Fall River and a number of courts across the state and my practice historically has always been one that I will travel to the corners of the Commonwealth. I’ve been out to Pittsfield and Greenfield and great Barrington, Holyoke –
John: Out in Western Massachusetts, yes.
Mike: I’ve been down the Cape and as I said, down on the South coast as well. A good defense plays anywhere.
What Approach to Take
John: Right. Is your approach different depending on what court you’re appearing on?
Mike: Well, some courts are different in the way that the judges run their trial sessions and obviously, there are opportunities in some courts where you may decide to go Jury waived, in front of a judge only, versus a jury of six people, and that requires a level of knowledge about who the judge is, who is sitting in a particular court on a particular day, and certainly I go to places such as Oxbridge or Holyoke or Great Barrington.
Those are courts that I don’t appear in every day. I do a ton of work through Middlesex, Essex County, I’m in Woburn courts all the time and I’m very familiar with everybody in those courts. If I go to a court that I’m not quite as familiar then, my job is to find out and get the knowledge that I need in order to make those decisions with my client and that’s easily done if you know who to talk to and the questions to ask. I think you can walk into any courtroom prepared to put on a vigorous defense regardless of where you’re from.
John: Do you know going into the court on a certain day what judge you’re going to be appearing before, or is it a surprise when you walk in the courtroom?
Mike: It’s not a surprise. There’s a list in and a schedule that is published publicly and I always check the schedule to see who’s going to be sitting in a particular court. But once you get to a courthouse and — I had a case this past year in Springfield and again, that’s a court that I don’t go to every week or month. I may be out there once or twice a year and there’s several judges in Springfield and you don’t know which one of those four or five judges will be sitting in the particular trial session.
Oftentimes you end up in a trial session, you tell them that you’re ready for trial and you get sent out to a different session in front of a different judge. So who’s sitting on the bench in a particular courthouse, that’s general knowledge but depending on the courthouse. I was in a courthouse this past week where there’s only one judge, and I knew who that judge was going to be. There’s no question that’s who’s going to be sitting that particular day. But in the bigger courts, the busier courts, you might have four or five judges and they rotate through the trial session. So sometimes you don’t know until the day of the trial who will be sitting in that trial session.
John: Have you noticed differences in the way that different courts or different judges approach OUI charges in Massachusetts?
Mike: No. They all follow the law as they’re required and they all give you a trial whether it’s a jury trial or a bench trial, according to the rules of Criminal Procedure and the rules of evidence. I’ve found a high level of consistency from one court to the next and I’ve always enjoyed trying cases in new courts and different courts just because you get to experience [and] meet different people. But most of the time, the process in and of itself, the defensive if you know your OUI case, whether it’s bench or a jury trial, is very similar from one County to the next, from one courthouse to the next.
What Individuals Charged with an OUI Can Expect
John: What does that mean for people who are charged for an OUI offense? That basically they’re going to get a fair trial and it doesn’t make too much difference where they’re being tried?
Mike: I think in some courts there may be — there might be a benefit because of a particular judge that might be in a particular court. But like I said, it’s pretty consistent throughout the Commonwealth. I think it’s very important that you have a lawyer who can try the case to a verdict, whether it is Springfield or Brockton or Newburyport. If you’re prepared and you know what you’re doing, you should be able to walk into a courtroom anywhere in the Commonwealth and get a good result and have a fair process.
John: Do you think that that’s an advantage for you, as I know you’re a defense lawyer, that you do travel all around the state and that you do have experience in all these different courts?
Mike: It’s given me a certain comfort level and a level of confidence that I think is helpful to my clients. So yes, I’ve always enjoyed, as I said, going to different places as opposed to being stuck in the same court day in and day out. I think that you could certainly get into a rut if you are working in the same place every day, and I think that that variety and diversity has really helped me and it’s built my confidence and it’s built my ability to try a case anywhere.
John: All right, that’s great information. Thanks again Mike for speaking with me today.
Mike: Thank you.
John: For more information about Mike Bowser, visit bowserlaw.com, or call 888-526-9737.