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 impact the license loss and court penalties 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*

First Offense OUI Penalties and License Suspensions: For those charged with a first OUI, the most common penalty is the following:

  • 45 days license loss
  • fines and fees
  • one year probation
  • requirement that you complete the 24D Program.

If you resolve the case prior to trial, you are likely to receive a CWOF. If you go to trial and are found guilty, the Court would impose a guilty finding. I have discussed the difference between a CWOF and a Guilty Finding in this website.

More Information about 1st Offense OUI Penalties:

While jail time is theoretically possible as the statute authorizes up to 2.5 years in the house of correction, it is extremely rare for someone with no record and a first offense OUI to receive jail time. The law does allow for a license longer that exceeds 45 days. If the Court imposes the 24D Program, the license loss can be up to 90 days and if the Court declines to impose the 24D program a one year license loss is authorized by Massachusetts OUI Laws. In most cases, the Court will impose a 45 day license loss.

What if you are Under 21?

If you are under 21, the Court will impose a 210 license loss. Additionally, for those under 21 with a breath test result of .20 or greater, the RMV will require you to complete an in home alcohol program.

Advice for those charged with 1st OUI:

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 always explore every possible defense to your charge before accepting a plea agreement.

2nd Offense OUI:

Second Offense OUI charges can be divided into two types, those where the first offense is less than ten years away and those with a greater than 10 year gap between offense.

2nd Offense with First Offense within the Last 10 Years:

When your two offenses are within 10 years, you face the following potential license suspensions:

If you refused a breath test: 3 year license suspension; If you admit to the OUI offense or are found guilty, there will be an additional two year license suspension from the Court.

Is Jail time possible on a 2nd Offense OUI?

The Court can impose up to 2.5 years on a second offense OUI. In many cases, jail can be avoided as the Court will impose the alternative disposition which requires you to complete a 14 day in-patient alcohol program, along with aftercare. Depending on the Court and the severity of the case, a judge may impose jail on a second offense OUI with a common sentence being six months or less. However, some judges will still impose a probationary period along with the in patient program after trial.

2nd Offense with the First Offense a Long Time Ago, Greater than Ten Years.

If your 2 OUI offenses are ten years apart or greater, you could receive what is called a second change first offender disposition, or sometimes called a Cahill Disposition, where you would have to complete the 24D program and would incur a 45 days license but would have to obtain the ignition interlock device prior to reinstatement. To be eligible for this shorter license suspension, the Court must treat your second offense as a first offense.

If the Court imposes the 14 day in-patient program or deviates from the typical first offense sentence, the RMV will still impose the standard second offense license suspension of two years, regardless of what license loss is ordered by the Court.

To read more about 2nd Offense OUI arrests outside of 10 years, click here.

3rd Offense: With a Third Offense you are looking at mandatory jail time of six months with 150 days to serve prior to any parole eligibility. You could face up to 2.5 years in jail on a third offense. • A Third Offense carries an Eight Year License Loss, and if you refused the breath test, your license will be suspended for five years as a result of the refusal.

4th Offense: A fourth Offense carries a mandatory one year jail sentence and allows for a sentence in the district court of up to 2.5 years. A 4th Offense would also carry a ten year license loss and a lifetime loss if there was a breath test refusal.


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.