OUI Defense in Massachusetts

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In the state of Massachusetts it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 % or higher. For people under 21 the limit is .02% which is equivalent to swallowing mouth wash by accident. In Massachusetts a DUI is called an OUI (operating under the influence instead of driving under the influence). You could also be charged with an OUI if you are under the influence of drugs like marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and even prescription drugs like Ambien that have a warning not to operate machinery because it can impair your motor skills.

Ever since 2005 where Melanie’s Law was put into action there has been a very strict emphasis on sentencing people charged with OUI’s. With an experienced attorney who knows the field well they can help you get your charge or sentence reduced. Sometimes by taking a state approved class focused on alcohol education can reduce your charge only for the first offence.

Massachusetts considers all first and second OUI offenses misdemeanors.

If you are convicted for the first time you could face up to 2 ½ years in jail, lose your license for a year and, have to pay between $500 to $5,000. If you have a child with you at the time you will also most likely face a child endangerment charge if the adolescent was 14 years of age or younger.

If you are arrested twice you will face $600 to $10,000 in fines, 30 to 2 ½ years in jail, and lose your license for 2 years.

A third arrest results with you losing your license for 8 years, $1,000 to $15,000 in fines, and 150 days to 2 ½ years in jail. At this point they might also order you to pay for an interlocking device that gets installed in your car. It is essentially a breathalyzer you have to use in order to start your car and it will not start if it detects alcohol.

As the convictions go on the fines and jail time go up and the loss of license increases significantly and with a 3rd, 4th, or 5th OUI it is considered a felony offence.
In Massachusetts if you refuse to take a chemical test you will receive a fine and automatic loss of license. For your first offence with the refusal of the test its 180 days without a license, 2nd offence is 3 years, and 3rd offence is 5 years.

Court Process:

Registry hearing

If you refuse to take the breath test the police officer will take your license. You then have 15 days to challenge the suspension of your license. If you don’t do it within the 15 days, you risk losing your license automatically for six months. While at the hearing it may be necessary to address Breath Test Refusal, the possibility of your receiving a Hardship License, or issues relating to getting an Ignition Interlock Device (IID).

Arraignment

You will either plead "guilty" or "not guilty. You and your attorney will gather the documents needed to defend your case. Sometimes your attorney can talk to the DA and try to get it resolved before a trial. For example if it is your first offence you may be able to get a hardship license and take the 24D program at the RMV. (alcohol education class)

Pretrial

Pretrial is putting together all the evidence to see if they have enough to convict you by going to trial. They will question the officers, look at all the documents, and go over your criminal record. Sometimes this is when plea deals come into place because there could be a limited amount of evidence that might not help them convict you. For first time offenders, they will offer you the lesser ramifications to avoid a trial.

Trial

If you do not get a plea deal you will have a trial by judge and jury. The DA will present their findings and call witnesses. You may be allowed to speak if you and your attorney deem it necessary. Ultimately the decision is in the hands of weather the jury thinks your guilty or not beyond a reasonable doubt. Then the judge will sentence once the jury has a verdict.