Drunk Driving, Oui Penalties
Massachusetts DUI Law Firm
Massachusetts OUI penalties are set out in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24 and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24D. The latter section is referred to as the alternative or "24D" disposition. As recently as July of 2013 the penalties have changed. This is not unusual as the OUI penalties in Massachusetts have changed over a dozen times since 1988. As of now, the penalties for convictions of DUI in Massachusetts are as follows:
First and Second Offense OUIs in Massachusetts Are Misdemeanors
For anyone convicted of a first offense who does not get the 24D program described below you are looking at a minimum five hundred dollar fine and possible paying as much as five thousand dollars. A two and one half year jail sentence is also authorized. There is a two hundred fifty dollar head injury fund assessment that must be paid and a fifty dollar fine to the victim’s fund. You are also looking at a one year license suspension with the possibility of a hardship license after three months at the earliest. The license loss is compounded by breathalyzer factors. If you took and failed the breathalyzer, i.e. blew a .08 or higher add thirty days to the license loss. If you refused the breathalyzer, add one hundred eighty days to the license suspension.
Alternative “24D” Disposition
The 24D disposition in Massachusetts is favored by judges. It is truly an alternative to the harsh mandates of an OUI conviction. It is available whether or not you go to trial and most judges impose the 24D sentence after trial rather than the first offender penalty described in the preceding paragraph. If you do not go to trial and plead guilty pursuant to the 24D alternative the judge may continue the case without a finding. This is typically the case no matter what the prosecutor recommends.
So how does this work? Once you have been convicted either after trial or by plea or admission to sufficient facts you will be placed on probation. The 24D statute permits two years probation. Judges usually impose only one year. You are required to register for and complete the driver alcohol education program. You should do this immediately for two reasons. One, you will likely get a hardship license three days after your register for the class whether or not you blew a .08 or higher or refused the breathalyzer. Your license will be suspended forty five days, again with hardship possibilities. You will be subject to the mandatory fines and fees discussed above as well as a probation supervision fee of sixty-five dollars per month. The 24D program is also available for anyone who was convicted of another OUI more than ten years earlier. This rule differs somewhat if you are under the age of twenty-one.
The fine for a second offense OUI conviction in Massachusetts is a minimum six hundred dollars and up to ten thousand dollars. You are also going to have to serve sixty days in jail and could do as much as two and one half years. Probation will be imposed for two years. You will lose your driver’s license for two years with a hardship possibility after eighteen months. After your license has been restored you will need to install an Ignition Interlock Device on your car. You will also be required to pay a substantial fine and probation supervision fees.
There is however an alternative disposition for second offense convictions in Massachusetts as well. Instead of going to jail you might qualify for a fourteen day in-patient alcohol education program. In appropriate situations a hardship license will be granted after one year. Statutory fines and probation fees apply here as well.
Third and Subsequent Offense OUIs in Massachusetts are Felonies
For a third offense conviction for OUI in Massachusetts you are going to have to pay at least one thousand dollars and you might have to pay a fine of fifteen thousand dollars. There is a one hundred eighty day sentence for a conviction, one hundred fifty of which is mandatory. There is also the possibility of a five year state prison sentence. You can serve this is a secured facility that treats alcohol abuse issues. Fines, fees and probation costs are going to be assigned. The registry will take your driver’s license for eight years with the possibility of getting a hardship in two years.
Now the mandatory sentence is one year in jail that is mandatory. State prison time of five years is authorized. A good percentage of OUI offenses from the fourth on are prosecuted in the superior court where the district attorney will be looking for a state prison sentence. The fine for fourth offenses is one thousand five hundred dollars and up to twenty-five thousand dollars. You will lose your license for ten years with hardship possibilities after five years.
A two and one half year house of correction must be imposed if you get convicted of a fifth offense OUI in Massachusetts. You must serve two years of this. You are facing a two thousand fine minimum and as much as fifty thousand dollars. As with all other OUI convictions in Massachusetts you will be assessed fines, fees and probation supervision costs. You are going to lose your license for life. There is no hardship provision for fifth offense OUI convictions in Massachusetts.
We have an excellent success rate trying drunk driving cases. We know how to prepare our clients, how to cross-examine the district attorney’s witnesses and win.
If you have been charged with OUI in Massachusetts you need to call an experienced Massachusetts drunk driving lawyer like Stephen Neyman. Our office can be reached by calling 617-263-6800 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You can also contact us online.
Si usted habla espanol contacta a nuestro asistente de abogado Maria Rivera en 617-877-6270.
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