OPERATING A VEHICLE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF INTOXICATING LIQUOR
G.L. c. 90 § 24
- A person is charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor if the Commonwealth can prove three elements, beyond a reasonable doubt:
- (1) That the defendant operated a motor vehicle;
- (2) That the defendant did so in a place where the public has a right of access or in a place where members of the public have access as invitees or licensees; and
- (3) That while operating the vehicle, the defendant was under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
- Practice Notes
- A person does not have to be drunk to be found to be under the influence of alcohol. A person is under the influence of alcohol if he or she has consumed enough alcohol to reduce his or her ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, by decreasing his or her alertness, judgment and ability to respond promptly. Meaning a person who has consumed enough alcohol to reduce his or her mental clarity, self-control and reflexes, and thereby left him or her with a reduced ability to drive safely.
- The Commonwealth does not need to prove that the defendant actually drove in an unsafe or erratic manner, only that the defendant’s ability to drive safely was diminished by alcohol.