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Is a CWOF a Good Deal on a First Offense Massachusetts OUI Charge?

Watch Attorney DelSignore answer your questions on CWOF

Many lawyers who do not handle OUI cases very day like Attorney DelSignore will quickly counsel their client to just take a plea in cases that can be won with more careful preparation. You should make sure that the entire case has been reviewed before accepting a plea of a CWOF. Here are a checklist of things to consider before deciding whether to take a plea:

  1. Do we have all the evidence? Video evidence is a major piece of evidence in OUI cases. If you have not seen the video, you may have overlooked a critical piece of evidence to show you were not impaired.
  2. Has your lawyer gone over your version: Many police reports sound as if the Commonwealth has a strong case, but just because it is written in the police report does not make it true. The biggest mistake I see lawyers on the defense side make is to read the report and assume it is all true or cannot be contradicted. Testifying at an OUI trial is not as scary or public as people thing. When you understand the setting, you should consider whether you could testify in your behalf.
  3. What Court is the case in? Attorney DelSignore handles cases statewide and understands how judges rule on OUI cases throughout the Commonwealth and knows how different counties have more or less favorable jury pools. A strong case for the defense in one court is much different than another court.

These are a few of the important factors to consider before taking a plea on an OUI case.

What are the implications of accepting a CWOF on a First Offense OUI charge?

it is important to understand what a CWOF is and how it affects the outcome of your case. It is also important to make sure you understand 3 significant implications of accepting a CWOF on a first offense Massachusetts OUI charge..


The reason this question comes up in almost every first offense case is because typically a prosecutor will offer a CWOF if a person elects to accept a plea to an OUI charge. Below I have described the three implications of accepting a CWOF.

1. A Continuance Without a Finding, also called a CWOF in Court, Counts as a conviction of OUI by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. A CWOF does not mean that the OUI charge was dismissed.

  • The most important thing to understand is that while a CWOF is technically not a conviction, it is an admission to the charge of operating under the influence of alcohol and will count as a first offense conviction for the purpose of license suspensions with the RMV.
  • Additionally, if you are arrested and charged a second time, a CWOF will count as a conviction and you will be charged as a second offender. By accepting a CWOF, you will be placed on probation, have to complete a 24D Alcohol Education program and pay fines and fees while incurring a 45 day license loss.

2. In most cases you will receive the same sentence even if convicted after contesting the case at trial. A CWOF counts as an OUI Conviction, so you should consider contesting the charge at trial.

  • In general, even if you are found guilty, you will not face a substantially different sentence after trial Common Punishment After an OUI 1st Offense Trial
  • The Court will typically impose a guilty finding with the same terms and conditions of probation as you would receive if you admit to the charge and accepted a CWOF.
  • The most important point to understand when you accept a CWOF is that it is an admission to the OUI charge. Some believe because of the case is continued without a finding that it does not count as an OUI conviction.
  • An OUI charge is the most common type of trial in the district court. You should only accept a CWOF if after reviewing the case and understanding all of your defenses that you feel as though it is in your best interest. Do not rush into the decision to get the case over, but take the time to learn your defenses from an OUI Attorney.

3. The Type of Job and Career you are pursuing may determine whether the benefits of a CWOF help you. See below for further explanation.


The benefit of accepting a CWOF is that it is technically not a conviction; accordingly, if asked if you have any criminal convictions, you could truthfully state no. Additionally, employers doing a CORI check are less likely to see a CWOF, though for many occupations, an employer will have the right to see a CWOF on a background check. Those working in fields such as health care, banking, education and occupations involving a high level of service to the public may result in their employer having greater access to CORI records, making the record of a CWOF available to that employer.

REMEMBER: A CWOF is a considered an admission that you drove under the in influence and counts as a conviction by the Registry of Motor Vehicles

If you have any questions regarding whether a CWOF is a good deal when you are charged with OUI in Massachusetts, feel free to call me at 781-686-5924 or you can check out our page Understanding the meaning of a CWOF in Court.

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Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! He was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards Michael for his amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael over and over again. Claire