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An “OUI” in Massachusetts stands for “Operating Under the Influence.” “OUI” means that you were caught in a state of intoxication, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. In Massachusetts, “OUI” can be used interchangeably with “DUI” or “DWI,” and carries the same penalties.
If you are pulled over for an OUI, you may face serious consequences, depending on the facts of your case and how many offenses you have on your record. In some states, a plea of guilty or a conviction in a drunk driving case may be removed from your record after a certain period of time has elapsed. But in Massachusetts, drunk driving offenses remain permanently on your record. Any background check will turn up this conviction. A criminal record can be embarrassing and problematic when trying to pursue job opportunities, housing, and other important matters.
If you are accused of an OUI, contact an experienced Boston OUI defense attorney today. The sooner you seek legal advice, the more your attorney will be able to do to help you protect your record and your reputation in the face of OUI charges.Consequences of an OUI Charge
A driver over the age of 21 can be charged with an OUI if his or her blood content is over .08% while operating a car. Massachusetts is an implied consent state, which means that if an officer with probable cause arrests you for driving under the influence, you consent to a chemical test of blood or breath. There is an exception for people with certain medical conditions such as diabetes or hemophilia.
If you refuse the blood or breath test, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days. The officer can take your license and send your car to an impound. Even if you don’t take a blood test, you can be charged with an OUI if your driving is erratic or otherwise obviously impaired.
In Massachusetts, for a first OUI conviction, you may have to serve up to 2 ½ years in jail, be ordered to pay up to $5,000 in fines, and have to participate in an alcohol education program. Your license may be suspended for up to a year.Continuance Without Finding
In the case of a first OUI charge, prosecutors and judges may allow you to enter a plea of Continuance Without Finding. This plea means you are not considered technically guilty of a crime, but the finding remains on your record. You will be placed on probation for a year, with your license suspended for 45-90 days, and required to attend a 16-week drug and alcohol education program.
The benefit of making this type of deal is that you may be able to get a hardship license to get to school or work, rather than forgo having a driver’s license altogether. However, this plea is not the best option for everyone. An attorney with experience handling OUI cases specifically can help you decide whether it is the best option for you.
The penalties for a first offense may not seem unduly harsh on their own, but the permanency of this incident on your driving record means that any future OUI—even one that happens 20 years later—can be impacted by that first conviction. Once you get a third OUI offense (and for any OUI offenses after that), you may be charged with a felony and face long-term license suspensions. A fifth OUI offense can lead to mandatory incarceration and a loss of your driver’s license for life.
If you have been charged with an OUI, contact experienced Boston OUI defense lawyer Stephen Neyman for a consultation. With over 20 years defending clients from the full spectrum of criminal charges, including OUI, he can comprehensively assess your case, and advise you of the best course of action based on your individual circumstances. Contact us at (617) 263-6800 or via our online form.