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Located in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, Quincy is the eighth largest city in the state. Its crime rate is closely in line with Massachusetts’ average; by one report, 1 in 235 people in Quincy has a chance of becoming a crime victim, and 1 in 233 people in Massachusetts overall has a chance of becoming a crime victim. Quincy’s violent crime rate is only slightly higher than the United States average. In 2011, Quincy’s police department recorded 1 murder, 31 rapes, 91 robberies, 271 assaults, 551 burglaries, and 1,087 thefts.
Criminal convictions, even for seemingly minor crimes such as motor vehicle offenses, carry harsh penalties, particularly if the defendant has prior convictions on his or her record. Anyone accused or charged locally with a crime should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced Quincy criminal defense attorney who can interact with the police and prosecution and prepare a forceful defense.Motor Vehicle Offenses
What do we mean by “motor vehicle offenses?” Motor vehicle offenses most commonly include drunk driving, driving without insurance, reckless driving, and hit and runs. Most motor vehicle offenses in Massachusetts are infractions or misdemeanors, but they can carry significant consequences, especially down the line, if you are involved in another motor vehicle offense. Accordingly, it is important to seek legal counsel right away.Operating Under the Influence
Operating under the influence (OUI) is taken very seriously in Massachusetts. The state has an implied consent law, meaning that you implicitly agree to take a blood alcohol test by driving in the state. Therefore, if you refuse a chemical test you are subject to a driver’s license suspension. The legal blood alcohol content limit in Massachusetts, like other states, is .08% for drivers over the age of 21 driving ordinary cars. You may also be pulled over and charged if you seem to be driving under the influence of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines.
If convicted of a first OUI, you may face license suspension, fines of between $500-5,000, jail time of up to 2 ½ years, an alcohol education program, and a license reinstatement fee. Punishments climb for second, third, fourth, and fifth offenses. A third offense is a felony charge with license suspension for 8 years, fines of between $1,000-15,000, jail time of between 180 days and 2 ½ years or prison time of between 2 ½-5 years, an alcohol education program, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and more. Of the jail time, you must serve at least 150 days.
As you can see, while punishment for the first offense may not seem particularly harsh, the criminal record you obtain may influence how you are charged on future drunk driving offenses. If you are convicted of a felony drunk driving charge, this may affect the way you are sentenced if you are eventually charged in other types of felony cases, especially those that cause bodily injury to another person. You may also find it impossible to procure reasonably priced car insurance, and it may be difficult to get to work if your license is suspended or revoked.
If someone is injured or killed in a motor vehicle offense, the allegedly responsible driver can be charged with motor vehicle homicide under the influence under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 section 24G(a). A conviction may lead to imprisonment in a state prison for no less than 2 ½ years and a fine of $5,000 or less, or imprisonment in a house of correction for not less than one year or more than 2 ½ years and a fine of $5,000 or less. Of this, a defendant will have to serve at least one year of the sentence.
Because the consequences of any criminal conviction are so severe, it is important to consult with an experienced Quincy criminal defense lawyer such as Stephen Neyman as soon as you discover you are being investigated or charged. Contact us at 617-263-6800 or via our online form.