Massachusetts OUI Penalties
If you were charged with OUI, you may be wondering what the penalties and punishments are for your case. Each offense level carries different consequences in terms of potential for jail time and license consequences upon conviction/ for refusing the breathalyzer test.
You will see penalties listed at each offense level, what the maximum penalties authorized by Massachusetts law are and what the likely penalties are for before and after trial.
- 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 of- fense. 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 thier records, which could result in the RMV imposing a more severe suspension than the court"
The typical penalty for a First Offense OUI charge involves the following:
- 45 days license loss
- Fines and fees
- 1 year probation
- 24D Program completion requirement
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.
NOTE: 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. Check this page to understand the difference between a CWOF and a Guilty Finding.
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.
Attorney DelSignore’s Adivce:
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 case in 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 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.
Is Jail Time Possible?
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- a common sentence being 6 months or less. However, some judges will still impose a probationary period along with the in patient program after trial.
First Offense Within Last 10 years:
- 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.
First Offense More Than 10 years Ago
You could receive a second charge first offender disposition, sometimes called a “Cahill Disposition” of the 24D program and would incur a 45 days license but you would have to obtain the ignition interlock device prior to reinstatement. To be eligible for this shorter license suspension, the Court must treat
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 re- fused the breath test, your license will be suspended for five years as a result of the refusal.
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.
Note: Child Endangerment & 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. More information on Child Endangerment Laws .
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