OUI Lawyer in Weymouth
First Offenses of OUI
When you are charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol ( OUI), you stand a much better chance of avoiding or lessening the impacts of a conviction if it is your first offense. Having just the current OUI accusation on your record can help that this is not common behavior for you, which could be useful in demonstrating that you either did not commit the offense or that you deserve a less harsh punishment for your mistake.
Massachusetts laws are tough on OUI offenders. The state has implemented laws in recent years that have increased certain OUI-related penalties, such as penalties for those who refuse chemical tests when suspected of the offense. The state does, however, have options for some first-time offenders, which can help them avoid prison time. Speak with a qualified Weymouth OUI attorney to learn more about what can be done on your behalf.
Penalties and Options for First-Time OUI Offenders
A driver convicted of OUI for the first time in Massachusetts could be sentenced to up to two-and-a-half years in prison, a fine ranging between $500 and $5,000, or both imprisonment and the fine together, according to Massachusetts' General Laws Chapter 90, §24(1)(a)(1) (2012). These penalties are less severe than those inflicted on second-time or subsequent offenders.
There is a chance a first-time offender could be given the option of serving probation and completing an alcohol treatment program, which can be done in place of a prison sentence. For this to be possible, the defendant must have never previously been convicted of the OUI or assigned to attend a drug or alcohol education, treatment or rehabilitation program because of two or more similar offenses. The court will need to review the defendant's driving record and criminal record. If it is determined that the individuals would benefit from such a program and that this option would not endanger the public, there is a chance the defendant could take advantage of this alternative sentencing.
A strong attorney might be able to help a defendant reach a "not guilty" verdict. There might be evidence that shows the arresting officer did not follow procedures properly, that the defendant was wrongly accused, or that there is not enough evidence to lead to a conviction. While this is the ultimate goal in OUI cases, there are also times in which a conviction is unavoidable. In these instances, the right attorney might be able to help a defendant receive an outcome that results in the least amount of damage to his or her life.
Driver's License Suspensions and Revocations
Another negative consequence of an OUI arrest or conviction is a driver's license suspension or revocation, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Individuals who take breath test upon arrest and are shown to have passed certain blood alcohol concentration (BAC) thresholds can face the following suspension periods:
- Age 21 or older: 30 days (with BAC of 0.08% or higher)
- Under age 21: 30 days (with BAC of 0.02% or higher)
- Between ages 18 and 21: additional 180 days, plus participation in Youth Alcohol Program (YAP)
- Under age 18: additional year, plus participation in YAP
After an actual conviction (as opposed to just an arrest), an OUI offender is at risk of receiving a one-year suspension or revocation. If he or she is a first-time offender and is participating in an alcohol or drug program, that person can receive a lower suspension period of 45 to 90 days. If the individual is under the age of 21—therefore being accused of an underage OUI offense—that period gets extended to 210 days.
License suspensions can also be given to drivers who refuse to take chemical tests, such as a breath or blood test. In these cases, first-time offenders can have their driving privileges suspended for 180 days if age 21 or older, or for three years if under the age of 21.
How a Dedicated and Skilled Quincy Attorney Can Help
A strong Quincy OUI attorney might be able to help a defendant reach a "not guilty" verdict. There might be evidence that shows the arresting officer did not follow procedures properly, that the defendant was wrongly accused or that there is not enough evidence to lead to a conviction. While this is the ultimate goal, there are also times in OUI cases which a conviction is unavoidable. In these instances, the right attorney might be able to help a defendant receive an outcome that results in the least amount of damage to the individual's life.
I am Dave Flanagan, and I am a Quincy DUI lawyer who specializes in various types of cases. My Quincy law firm, Flanagan & Associates, is committed to helping clients understand their legal options so they can make the best decisions in handling their OUI charges. If I take on your case, I will provide you with attentive legal guidance, as well as strong representation in the courtroom. Contact a Quincy OUI lawyer at my firm for a free initial consultation and case evaluation.