Massachusetts OUI Penalties

If you were charged with a Massachusetts OUI, you may be wondering:

What are the potential penalties for my case?

In this page, I have listed the penalties for a Massachusetts OUI offense at each offense level, what the maximum penalties authorized by law are and what the likely penalties are for before and after trial.

Each offense level carries with it different consequences in terms of potential for jail time and license consequences upon conviction and for refusing the breathalyzer test.

What factors affect the penalty for my case?

  • The number of prior offenses to this case
  • The outcome of the case
  • Whether you refused the Breathalyzer
*Massachusetts has a lifetime look back for all prior OUI convictions whether within the State or outside of Massachusetts. Sometimes a prosecutor may be unaware of a prior offense. If that happens while you will avoid the criminal penalties associated with the higher offense, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend your license if you are found guilty according to their records, which could result in the RMV imposing a more severe suspension than the court*

DUI/OUI OffensePenaltyMore information
1st Offense
  • Up to 2.5 years in House of Correction
  • License suspension up to 1 year with hardship eligibility for work and education within three months and a general hardship license within six months.
  • Driver will have to complete an alcohol education program (24D program)
  • Will have to pay fines and fees

The most common disposition is a license suspension for 45 days.

An individual who is found guilty of a first offense or who enters a plea agreement generally is placed on probation for one year with the same terms and conditions of probation as if a plea was accepted.

If you are under 21 and are found guilty of OUI, the license suspension is 210 days for a first offense.

Attorney Delsignore's advice: "Even if you are unsuccessful at trial, the sentence imposed after trial will not be much different from the plea that you are offered. OUI trials are the most common in the district court and are difficult cases for the prosecutor to prove. Because of the lifetime look back on prior OUI offenses and the tendency for DUI/OUI laws to increase in severity of punishment. you should vigorously contest an OUI or DUI charge brought against you. Always consult with an experienced OUI attorney prior to enterina a plea agreement".
2nd Offense
  • Up to 2.5 years in House of Correction; after trial if a jail sentence is imposed, the court is required to impose a 60 day jail sentence
  • 2 years license suspension. Work/education hardship considered in 1 year, general hardship in 18 months
  • Fine: $600-$10,000
  • A condition of any hardship license is the installation of an ignition interlock device for at least 2 years. The device requires that the operator have a breath alcohol level of less than .02 for the car to start.

A five year license loss if the breathalyzer was refused and if 2 offenses were within 10 years. All license suspensions run one after another, so if the 3 year refusal suspension is upheld and a 2 year loss is given, the total license loss would be five years with hardship eligibility after the fourth year.

An individual can avoid jail time by receiving the alternative disposition- the completion of an in-patient alcohol treatment program. This includes:

  • 2 years probation
  • 14 day confined treatment program paid for by the defendant with completion of the aftercare program.
  • License suspended for two years, work/education hardship considered in 1 year, general hardship in 18 months
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device for at least 2 years.
Attorney Delsignore's advice: "This conviction imposes significant penalties. An OUI charge can be difficult to prove so contact an experienced OUI/DUI lawyer immediately to discuss your case. Additionally, if you refused the breathalyzer, you face a three year loss of your driver's license. You need to act immediately to request a hearing at the RMV to challenge this suspension as you only have 15 days".
3rd Offense
  • Minimum 180 days incarceration (150 day mandatory), not more than 5 years State Prison (Felony status)
  • License suspension for 8 years, work/education hardship considered in 2 years, general hardship in 4 years
  • Fine $1,000-$15,000
  • May be served in a correctional facility treatment programs
  • A condition of any hardship license is the installation of an ignition interlock device for at least the hardship period. The device requires that the operator have a breath alcohol level of less than .02 for the car to start.

A third offense involves a difficult choice: what is more important, attempting to secure your driver’s license or avoiding jail time? Your answer to this question and your Massachusetts OUI Lawyer’s evaluation of the case will determine how you proceed.

In some cases the Commonwealth may agree to reduce a third offense to a second offense, resulting in you avoiding the mandatory jail time required for this offense. However, you will still face the license loss associated with a third offense.

Attorney Delsignore's advice: "Any third and subsequent offense OUI charge is a felony and carries mandatory jail time. All third and higher offense OUI charges are likely to raises issues of bail at arraignment. You should speak to an experience DUI lawyer immediately to help prepare your OUI defense".
4th Offense
  • Incarceration minimum 2 years (1 year Minimum Mandatory), not more than 5 years (Felony status)
  • License suspended for 10 years, work/education hardship considered in 5 years, general hardship in 8 years
  • Fine $1,500-$25,000
  • A condition of any hardship license is the installation of an ignition interlock device for at least the hardship period. The device requires that the operator have a breath alcohol level of less than .02 for the car to start

CHILD ENDANGERMENT AND MASSACHUSETTS DUI CHARGES

Under Massachusetts DUI law, if you had a child under 14 in your vehicle when you were charged, you will also be charged with operating under the influence child endangerment. The Child Endangerment law carries severe consequences with a potential prison sentence of 2 1/2 years and a one-year license loss.

Given the severe consequences of an OUI child endangerment charge, it is important to contact an experienced Massachusetts DUI lawyer to confront any OUI child endangerment charges Massachusetts. Click here for more information on Child Endangerment Laws.

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