Are You Looking For The Best DWI Attorney In Massachusetts?

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When a motorist is stopped by police in Massachusetts for suspicion of driving under the influence, they will be asked to either give a breath sample to determine their BAC level or be asked to perform a series of field sobriety tests, such as walking in a straight line, or a combination of both. If the driver is found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .08 percent or above, they are considered to be in violation of the law and may be convicted for their crimes. Minors (drivers under 21 years of age) and commercial drivers are charged with OUI at a lower BAC level – minors at .02 percent and commercial vehicle drivers at .04 percent.

In Massachusetts, driving under the influence charges are referred to as operating under the influence, or OUI, charges. The state imposes strict penalties for drivers convicted of operating under the influence, such as expensive fines, having one’s license revoked and even going to jail. Punishments are even more severe for those who are considered to be “extreme OUI,” meaning having a BAC level of .20 percent or higher, and for repeat OUI offenders.

However, there are greater chances for a OUI offender have their charges dismissed in Massachusetts than in many other states. Massachusetts has what are called “per se” OUI laws. Per se laws state that a motorist may only be found guilty of OUI if their blood alcohol content level is at .08 percent or above and if a judge or jury believes the test to determine intoxication was properly performed and led to an accurate reading. Massachusetts law allows for the possibility of an error with a breathalyzer device, environmental factors and even poor record keeping habits of the arresting officer, all which contribute to a breath test result being thrown out in court.

Unlike other states, a motorist in Massachusetts may refuse a breath test and it will have no bearing on their criminal charges in court. While a driver may not incur any criminal charges if they refuse to submit to OUI testing, they can still be charged with administrative penalties, which means they can lose their license for a minimum of180 days. This is a stipulation of what is called Melanie’s Law. Melanie’s law increases the time a driver’s license is suspended if they refuse to submit to a breath test.

Massachusetts OUI Penalties

Motorists in Massachusetts who are convicted of OUI may be subject to the following penalties:

1st OUI Conviction

• Imprisonment up to 30 months
• Fine from $500 to $5,000
• $250 Assessment fine
• $50 OUI Victim Trust Fund fine
• Driver’s license suspended for 1 year
• Mandatory completion of court assigned substance treatment program

2nd OUI Conviction

• Imprisonment from 30 days to 30 months
• Fine from $600 to $10,000
• Driver’s license suspended for 2 years
• Eligible for hardship license after 1 year
• Ignition interlock device required

3rd OUI Conviction

• Imprisonment from 150 days to 5 years
• Fine from $1,000 to $15,000
• Driver’s license suspended for 8 years
• Eligible for hardship license after 2 years
• Ignition interlock device required

4th OUI Conviction

• Imprisonment from 1 to 5 years
• Fine from $1,500 to $25,000
• Driver’s license suspended for 10 years
• Eligible for hardship license after 5 years
• Ignition interlock device required

5th OUI Conviction

• Imprisonment from 2 to 5 years
• Fine from $2,000 to $50,000
• Driver’s license suspended permanently

Additional Penalties and Regulations

Minors: Drivers under the age of 21 cannot operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level above .02 percent. Those found guilty of OUI will have their license suspended for 180 days. Refusal to submit to a breath test will lead the motorist’s license to be suspended for 1 year instead of 180 days.
A minor found guilty of OUI in Massachusetts may opt to participate in a youth alcohol program to lessen the duration of their license suspension. All convicted minors must participate in a Driver Alcohol Education Program or DAEP.

Minors who are guilty of OUI will not be sent to jail unless aggravated charges were also incurred, meaning that the drunken driver caused bodily harm or death to another individual. In these cases, an ignition interlock device will be required.

Repeat Offenders: If a motorist is in fact convicted of OUI in Massachusetts, it is a very serious offense and never comes off of a motorist’s record. Those who are considered repeat OUI offenders in Massachusetts incur greater penalties than first-time offenders and are ordered to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.

Child Endangerment: All OUI offenders who are convicted and had a child under the age of 14 in the vehicle at the time of arrest will also be charged with Child Endangerment and will spend between 90 days and 2 ½ years in prison as well as be fined between $1,000 and $5,000. In addition, the motorist will lose their license for 1 year.

Melanie’s Law: Motorists who refuse to submit to breath tests will be subject to having their license suspended for a period of time contingent upon the number of previous OUI offenses. First time offenders will have their license suspended for 180 days, second time offenders will have their license suspended for 3 years, and so on.

Fighting OUI Charges in Court

If you have incurred an OUI in Massachusetts, turn to a top OUI lawyer in the state right away for help. Massachusetts has a lifetime “lookback” period, which means any and all OUI offenses will be held against you. With the assistance of a skilled Massachusetts OUI attorney, however, you can rest assured that your charges will either be significantly reduced or dropped altogether.

To ensure the best possible resolution for your case, contact an elite OUI lawyer in Massachusetts today to discuss your options and get started on your case.