Zawadzkas Law is a family business that represents people in the matters of criminal defense, domestic relations and personal injury on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving (OUI/DUI/DWI) on Cape Cod or have been injured in an automobile accident, please contact our office for a free consultation.
Meet The AttorneysRepresenting the Cape and Islands for over 50 years
We are a small family business that cares about the people in our community. Whether you have been arrested, in a car accident or are considering a divorce we are here to help you and your family.
Mike Zawadzkas & Elisa Zawadzkas Ridley
Michael A. Zawadzkas
When you are arrested it is important to consult with an OUI attorney right away. We analyze the case and make sure that everything that was done by the police was proper and legal.
Did they have reasonable suspicion to pull you over?
Did they have probable cause to order you out of your car?
Will the digital recording (if there is one) be preserved?
Can they prove you were operating a motor vehicle?
These questions, to name a few, are important elements that the Commonwealth must prove.
Your initial consultation is free, so call us should you need an effective OUI defense.
- Drunk Driving (OUI, DUI, and DWI)
- Personal Injury
- Traffic Accidents
- Slips and Falls
- District Court Criminal Cases
- National Seashore Cases
- Columbia University, BA (1973)
- Western New England Law School, JD (1977)
Elisa Zawadzkas Ridley
Elisa’s practice concentrates on family law and criminal defense. She represents clients at the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeals for license suspensions due to Breathalyzer Refusals, OUI, Immediate Threat/Medical Emergency, and Habitual Traffic Offender. She also represents individuals injured in traffic accidents.
She has been successfully representing persons charged with drunk driving (OUI, DUI, and DWI) on Cape Cod since joining the firm in 2006 and was named by Super Lawyers magazine as 2015 Rising Star for criminal defense: DWI/DUI. She was featured in 2015 Cape Cod Magazine as one of ten “Most Inspirational Women” and was a 2014 Cape & Plymouth Business magazine 40 Under 40 Award winner.
Elisa graduated from the College of the Holy Cross where she played Division 1 basketball qualifying for the NCAA tournament 3 times and was tri-captain her senior year. She received her Juris Doctor from New England Law and is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and the Federal District Courts. Elisa has had over 50 trials and regularly attends continuing legal education seminars relevant to her practice. She is a Cape Cod native growing up in Orleans and presently residing in West Dennis, with her husband Aaron. She is civic-minded. She has served on the Town of Dennis Zoning Board of Appeals since 2008 and was a 2014 Democratic Candidate for State Representative for the 1stBarnstable District.
- Child Custody
- Child Support/Alimony
- Drunk Driving (OUI, DUI, and DWI)
- District Court Criminal Defense
- RMV / Board of Appeals / License Suspensions
Professional and Civic Affiliations
- Barnstable County Bar Association, Former President
- Town of Dennis Zoning Board of Appeals, Board Member
- Harwich/Dennis Rotary Club, Member
- Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts – Cape & Islands Committee
- Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA), Member
- Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services (public defender), Member
- Cape Cod Young Professionals (CCYP), Member
- Holy Cross Club of Cape Cod, Past Board Member
- United States Tennis Association (USTA), Team Captain
- Dennis Democratic Town Committee, Executive Board Member
Pro Bono Work
- Nauset Public Schools (through grade 10)
- Deerfield Academy, Diploma (1998)
- College of the Holy Cross, B.A. (2002)
- New England Law, J.D. (2005)
Awards & Recognition
- Super Lawyers magazine, 2015-2017 (2015 Rising Star)
- Cape & Plymouth Business magazine, 2015 40 Under 40 Award winner
- Cape Cod Magazine, 2015 recognized as 1 of 10 “Most Influential Women”
- First Justices’ Award for Pro Bono Publico Excellence, 2012- 2019
- Certificate of Competency, BAC DataMaster and Basic Science of Evidential Breath Alcohol Testing
- Pensions & QDROs – Boston, MA
- 26th Annual Law Conference – Chatham, MA
- Handling Motor Vehicle Accident Cases – Boston, MA
- Family & Probate Conciliation Training – Hyannis, MA
- CPCS Superior Court Training Program – Worcester, MA
- Family Law Annual Conference – Boston, MA
- Diving into a DUI Case – Key West, FL
- Alimony Summit – Boston, MA
- National College of Drunk Driving Defense Harvard Session – Cambridge, MA
- Alimony: Beyond the Fundamentals – Barnstable, MA
- Family Law 14th Annual Conference – Boston, MA
- OUI Summit 2010 – Boston, MA
- Probate and Family Court Categories E & F – Springfield, MA
- Family Court Judicial Forum – Plymouth, MA
- Family Law Trial Advocacy – Boston, MA
- Tax Aspects of Divorce – Waltham, MA
- Divorce Law Basics – Boston, MA
- 13th Annual Family Law Conference – Boston, MA
- Zoning Law – Boston, MA
- Trend in Alimony – Boston, MA
- DataMaster Breath Testing Course – Mansfield, OH
- NCDD Summer Session – Cambridge, MA
- CPCS Trial Skills Workshop- Worcester, MA
- A DUI Extravaganza: Details for the Skilled Practitioner – Boston, MA
- Deciphering the new law on Marijuana Law – Boston, MA
- A Guide to the Guide- An Overview to the MA Guide to Evidence – Boston, MA
- Traffic Defense Seminar – Boston, MA
- Civil Litigation Bootcamp – Boston, MA
- Breath Test Seminar – Boston, MA
- National College of DUI Defense – Boston, MA
- Trying OUI Cases in MA – Boston, MA
- MCLE- MA Motor Vehicle Torts and Litigation – Boston, MA
- National College DUI Defense – Boston, MA
- Zealous Advocacy in the District Court – Boston, MA
- Representing the OUI Client – Boston, MA
Services We ProvideSpecialized service in the follow areas
OUI / DUI / DWI / Drunk Driving Defense
Zawadzkas Law has over 50 years of combined experience in representing individuals accused of committing crimes on Cape Cod. Our practice concentrates on drunk driving (OUI, DUI, DWI) defense, for which we are widely recognized. Elisa was one of 8 lawyers in New England to be named by Super Lawyers Magazine (2015) as a Rising Star in the area of OUI Defense. We will listen, analyze the facts specific to your case and educate you on your rights, potential exposure and the possible outcomes. With us in your corner, you will be well- equipped to fight the charges or make the most informed decisions to successfully navigate through the criminal justice process.
Zawadzkas Law provides quality representation to ensure your voice is heard and your position is clear in every aspect of a domestic relations case. We will make your problem ours and be available, responsive and your biggest advocate. Our experience and expertise will help in finding a creative solution for you and your family where one might not seem possible. You will be fully informed of your rights and potential liability through all the stages of the proceeding. We will advocate tirelessly on your behalf. We negotiate fairly, professionally and effectively to help you achieve the best possible outcome in the most cost-effective way possible.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
What To Do in Case of a Motor Vehicle Accident
- Call Police.
- Do not move your vehicle.
- Exchange name, address and insurance company with other party.
- Do not accept responsibility or otherwise discuss the accident with anyone other than police authorities.
- Identify other persons, including witnesses and vehicles involved in the accident.
- If you think that you were injured at all, seek medical treatment immediately.
- Report the accident immediately to your attorney or call us at 508-240-1403.
OUI / DUI / DWI / Drunk Driving Information You Need To KnowThe rules in Massachusetts are constantly changing
- If you are arrested for drunk driving, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test.
- The legal blood alcohol content limit (BAC) for drivers is 0.08. In addition, drivers under 21 will face license suspensions for BACs as low as 0.02.
- If you fail the test, your license will be immediately suspended for 30 days. If you refuse the test, your license will be immediately suspended for 180 days or up to life, and your vehicle will be impounded. In either case, you will go to court to face criminal charges.
- Drunk driving convictions remain on your driving record for life.
- If the court convicts you, this will go on your record as a drunk driving offense and you will face the consequences detailed inside.
If you have two or more drunk driving offenses and are eligible for a hardship license or for license reinstatement, you must have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in any vehicle you own, lease, or operate.
For a hardship license, the device must be used for the entire life of the hardship, and at least an additional two years after full reinstatement.
For a full license reinstatement, the device must be used for at least two years.
A driver must forfeit his/her motorcycle license for the term of the IID restriction. Mandatory Ignition Interlock Vendor Fees: $100 – $500 install, $85+ monthly
OUI / DUI / DWI / Drunk Driving - Frequently Asked QuestionsThe best defense is a good offense
What do police officers look for when searching for drunk drivers on the highways?
- Turning with a wide radius
- Straddling center of lane marker
- “Appearing to be drunk”
- Almost striking object or vehicle
- Driving on other than designated highway
- Speed more than 10 mph below limit
- Stopping without cause in traffic lane
- Following too closely
- Tires on center or lane marker
- Braking erratically
- Driving into opposing or crossing traffic
- Signaling inconsistent with driving actions
- Slow response to traffic signals
- Stopping inappropriately (other than in lane)
- Turning abruptly or illegally
- Accelerating or decelerating rapidly
- Headlights off
Speeding, incidentally, is not a symptom of DUI – because of quicker judgment and reflexes, it may indicate sobriety.
If I'm stopped by a police officer and he asks me if I've been drinking, what should I say?
Do I have a right to an attorney when I'm stopped by an officer and asked to take a field sobriety test?
What is the officer looking for during the initial detention at the scene?
- Flushed face
- Red, watery, glassy and/or bloodshot eyes
- Odor of alcohol on breath
- Slurred speech
- Fumbling with wallet trying to get license
- Failure to comprehend the officer’s questions
- Staggering when exiting vehicle
- Swaying/instability on feet
- Leaning on car for support
- Combative, argumentative, jovial or other “inappropriate” attitude
- Soiled, rumpled, disorderly clothing
- Stumbling while walking
- Disorientation as to time and place
- Inability to follow directions
What should I do If I'm asked to take field sobriety tests?
Should I agree to take a chemical test? What happens if I don't?
- Your drivers license will be suspended for 180 days. This is true even if you are found not guilty of the DUI charge.
- The fact of refusal can not be introduced into evidence.
Do I have a choice of chemical tests? Which should I choose?
The officer never gave me a Miranda warning: Can I get my case dismissed?
Do I have a choice of chemical tests? Which should I choose?
The officer took my license and served me with a notice of suspension after the breath test. How can he do that if I'm presumed innocent?
How can I find a qualified drunk driving lawyer?
- The attorney has extensive experience in DUI/DWI litigation.
- The attorney has a reputation for going to trial in appropriate cases, rather than just “copping out” his clients.
- The financial terms of representation are clear.
What will it cost to get a lawyer?
- Is the offense a misdemeanor or felony?
- If prior convictions are alleged, the procedures for attacking them may add to the cost.
- The fee may or may not include trial or appeals.
- Administrative license suspension procedures may also be extra.
- The lawyer may charge a fixed fee, or he may ask for a retainer in advance — to be applied against charges.
- Costs such as witness fees, independent blood analysis, service of subpoenas, etc., may be extra. Whatever the fee quoted, you should ask for a written agreement and make sure you understand all the terms.
What is the punishment for drunk driving?
After a trial the judge has to make written findings as to why the defendant should not serve 60 days in jail.
What is a rising BAC defense?
TestimonialsHear what our clients have to say
Elisa, I wanted to take the time to thank you. You treated me with kindness, respect and compassion. You work hard and it shows. Taking the extra time with me to make some important decisions is very much appreciated and certainly didn't go unnoticed.
Mike, Having you as an attorney was definitely an early X-Mas for me in September
Thank you again. I really appreciate your efforts and think the way you cross examined the Brewster Police officers was brilliant.
Elisa, Thank you for all your expertise yesterday. It is such a difference to wake up today and feel free to get on with my life and have my name cleared. My friends and family who have supported me through this send a big thank you as well. You were wonderful. I knew it was not going to not be easy. Thank you for your patience, professionalism and helping me have my name cleared.
Elisa, Thank you for all of your diligence and hard work. You have no idea how much this meant to both of us, not only to prevail legally, but morally as well. You will not be forgotten.
Elisa, Thank you so much for all you did for us in this ridiculous court case! We so appreciated your willingness to take time to explain things to us, to prepare us for trial, to respond to our questions in a timely manner, and to do such a great job in court. If you ever need a reference, we would be happy to provide one.
Elisa, I cannot thank you enough for how brilliantly you handled my trial. I can now go back to school, apply for the job I have wanted to for awhile and can do it without that OUI hanging over me. With that, I could not have moved forward in my life as a nurse- so thank you! You were so impressive at my trial; so composed and smart. Plus, your charisma didn’t hurt. I want you to know that I totally learned my lesson that night and mean it when I said I haven’t drank since then. I learned that alcohol has no place in my life and can cause huge problems. You are the best.
I am sure you have heard the fantastic news of last Friday’s trial. I wanted to say thanks… and most importantly tell you what a great job Elisa did. She really was excellent. While we may have had a little luck on our side to have gotten as favorable a decision as we did… Elisa really punched some holes in their entire process and won it for us. I couldn’t have been happier.
Hi Elisa, Thanks again for everything! I hope your father praised you for your exceptional victory–this has GOT to mean ultimate respect in the courtroom! So many thanks!!!
Dear Elisa, I can’t thank you enough for all you did to help me with my case. Everything seems to be working itself out. I know it was not easy. Thanks again and I hope all is well.
Thank you for all your help and guidance through a very difficult process. I really appreciate all your hard work that helped me to resolve this issue.
Elisa, It is great to win! I hope this allows you to celebrate and continue on the path of great courtroom victories. Thank you.
Elisa, Without your help my license would not have been possible. Thank you Again.
Hi, Elisa. I just want to thank you again for all your hard work on my trial. I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving. Thank you.
Elisa and her father were extremely supportive. They both explained every step of the process and the possible outcomes. Fortunately, my outcome was very positive thanks to their professionalism and expertise with the law. They guided me through an extremely challenging “road block” in my life. Thank You Again!
Elisa and Michael Zawadzkas are extremely thorough and professional. They get the job done and I can’t thank them enough. On extremely short notice they took control of a situation I was unfortunately in and produced an outstanding result. I can highly recommend them.
I wanted to sincerely thank you for all your hard work throughout my case. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. The thanks from everyone on this note includes me, my mom, sisters and the rest of my friends and family.
Thank you for the competent and intelligent disposal of my case – you got the best possible result given the circumstances.
Recent CasesIt's our goal to get you the best possible outcome
|T. V.||2/19/2020||Leaving the Scene of Property Damage||No Complaint Issued|
|R. L.||2/11/2020||Assault & Battery||Dismissed|
|J. Q.||1/28/2020||Assault with Dangerous Weapon||Dismissed|
|D. C.||1/17/2020||Assault with Dangerous Weapon||Dismissed|
|A. L.||1/13/2020||Marked Lanes Violation||No Complaint Issued|
|M.R||12/20/2019||Assault with Dangerous Weapon||Dismissed|
|R.S.||11/6/2019||OUI 2nd offense||Not Guilty|
|J.O.||6/11/2019||Assault & Battery||Dismissed|
|K.B.||5/28/2019||Threatening to Commit Crime||No Complaint Issued|
|G.N.||5/28/2019||Assault & Battery||Dismissed|
|J.H.||5/23/2019||OUI 2nd offense||Dismissed|
|T.F.||5/14/2019||Larceny Over $1200||Not Guilty|
|K.S.||4/9/2019||Assault & Battery||Dismissed|
|P.K.||3/12/2019||Operating on Suspended License||No Complaint Issued|
|A.C.||3/6/2019||Assault & Battery||Dismissed|
|A.R.||3/1/2019||Leaving the Scene of Property Damage||No Complaint Issued|
|A.E.||2/13/2019||Threatening to Commit Crime, Witness Intimidation||Dismissed|
|R.W.||1/25/2019||Reckless Endangerment of a Child||Dismissed|
|W.E.||12/19/2018||Violation of Harassment Protection Order||No Complaint Issued|
|R.B.||11/5/2018||Accessory After the Fact||Nolle Pros|
|E.B.||10/29/2018||Negligent Operation||No Complaint Issued|
|J.P.||9/25/2018||Assault & Battery||Dismissed|
|B.M.||6/26/2018||Assault & Battery, Disorderly Conduct||Dismissed|