Is a CWOF a good deal on a First Offense Massachusetts OUI Charge?

Watch Attorney DelSignore answer your questions on CWOF
A common concern for people charged with their rst OUI offense is whether or not they should resolve their case with a CWOF or 'risk' taking it to trial. Before I answer this question, 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 signi cant implications of accepting a CWOF on a rst offense Massachusetts OUI charge. . Q. SHOULD I RESOLVE THE CASE WITH A CWOF OR CONTEST THE CASE AT TRIAL? The reasons this question comes up in almost every rst 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 in uence of alcohol and will count as a rst 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 nes 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 nding 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 nding 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 bene ts 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 elds 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 uence 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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