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What is a Cahill Disposition in a 2nd Offense Massachusetts OUI Charge?

If you were charged with a second offense Massachusetts OUI charge, you may be eligible for a disposition of your case known as a Cahill disposition.

What is a Cahill Disposition?

The term Cahill disposition derives from the case of Commonwealth v. Cahill, 442 Mass. 127 (2004) which held that the Registry of Motor Vehicles must honor the decision of the court to treat a second offense OUI as a 1st offense if it occurs more than 10 years from the date of the 1st drunk driving conviction.

This means if you are charged with a second offense OUI, but the court gives you the 24D program, and imposes all of the penalties applicable to a 1st offense OUI charge, including the 45 day loss of license and assignment of the 24D program, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles must honor that disposition. The Registry of Motor Vehicles, under the Cahill decision, will allow you to obtain your license back, provided that you have the ignition interlock installed in your vehicle and you will be required to maintain the ignition interlock device for a period of the three years.

Am I Eligible for a Cahill Disposition?

If you were charged with a second offense OUI and your 1st offense was more than 10 years ago, it is up to the Court as to whether or not they will treat it as a 1st offense OUI.

You are INELIGIBLE if:
You are ineligible for a Cahill disposition if you receive the 14 day in-patient as part of the resolution of the case OR if you have more than one prior OUI offense that is over ten years old.

What are the Potential Penalties?

A second offense Massachusetts OUI charge, where your 1st offense is more than 10 years from your second offense charge will allow you to get your license back, provided that you have the ignition interlock installed in your vehicle.

If the court does not treat your second offense OUI as a 1st offense, even though more than 10 years have passed between the two offenses, you will not be eligible for the Cahill disposition.In other words, if the district court judge imposes the 14 day in-patient program, as part of a plea or after trial, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will not be obligated to allow you to reinstate your license within 45 days, with the ignition interlock requirement.

It will instead impose the second offense license suspension penalties, a 2 year license loss with the ignition interlock requirement. If the court approves the Cahill disposition, you will be eligible to get your hardship license on the three year breathalyzer refusal suspension should you refuse a breathalyzer test. The ignition interlock device must be maintained in your vehicle for a period of the hardship, plus an additional 2 years. The ignition interlock device will require you to pay a monthly monitoring fee and an installation fee. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles does criminalize any attempts to tamper with or destroy the ignition interlock device. If you took a breath test and receive the Cahill disposition, you will have to leave the ignition interlock in your car for three years.

What to Do Next?
1. Seek an Experienced Attorney

As it is up to the court as to whether or not your second offense OUI will be treated as a 1st offense OUI, it is extremely important you speak with an attorney.

Attorney DelSignore offers free, no obligation consultations. If you have any questions about the Cahill disposition or getting a hardship license on a Massachusetts OUI charge, you can contact Attorney Delsignore directly at 781-686-5924.

2. Further Information

It is important you do not make any decisions without understanding all the details of your case and the different court terminology. You can check out our suggested pages below for further reading: