Quincy OUI Attorney

OUI Penalties in Massachusetts

An arrest of conviction for operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol—known in Massachusetts as operating under the influence (OUI)—can lead to serious penalties. OUI convictions can lead to consequences such as jail time, prison time, expensive fines and driver's license suspensions. The severity of the conviction will depend on the driver's record—whether or not he or she has previous OUI convictions—as well as the circumstances of the offense. For example, an underage drunk driver can receive harsher penalties than a drunk driver who is legally old enough to consume alcohol.

Even before an individual is convicted of OUI, he or she can suffer from a driver's license suspension if a chemical test— a breath or blood test—showed that the individual was over the legal limit for drinking and driving, or if the individual refused to take a chemical test. Below, you can learn more about the potential penalties drivers can face when they are accused and convicted of operating under the influence.

Imprisonment and Fines From OUI Convictions

A driver can be under the influence of various types of substances when arrested for an OUI in Massachusetts. These might include alcohol, intoxicating liquor, marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants, stimulants or even glue vapors.

Massachusetts' General Laws Chapter 90, §24(1)(a)(1) (2012) lays out the potential imprisonment and fine-related penalties that a person convicted of OUI could receive. A first-time OUI offender could be forced to spend up to several years in prison, as well as to pay fines that can range from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The severity of the sentence will depend on how many previous OUI convictions the offender has. Other factors can also make penalties more severe, such as whether the OUI resulted in injuries of others, or whether a child was present at the time. In some cases, more favorable options are available, such as probation, the completion of treatment programs and imprisonment only during select times.

License Restrictions for Over-the-Limit BACs and Test Refusals

Receiving OUI arrests or convictions can also lead to driving restrictions. If a driver age 21 or older takes a Breathalyzer test and shows a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, the person's right to operate a vehicle will be suspended for 30 days, according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Drivers who are under the age 21—which means they are not of the legal age to consume alcohol—only need a BAC of 0.02% or higher in order to receive the same penalty.

These individuals, if between the ages of 18 and 21, could have their driver's licenses suspended for an additional 180 days if caught operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They could also be required to participate in a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP). Penalties can be even harsher for those under the age of 18, as they could be forced to serve an additional year of suspension, along with participating in the YAP program.

A suspension can also occur if a driver refuses to take a Breathalyzer test. These license suspensions can last anywhere from 180 days to several years, or even a lifetime, depending on the driver's age and previous OUI record.

License Suspensions/Revocations From OUI Convictions

Besides these suspensions, which become effective immediately upon the day of arrest, there are driver's license suspensions and revocations for actual OUI convictions. Once the individual is actually convicted, his or her suspension could last anywhere from 45 days to several years or even a lifetime, depending on circumstances of the case, according to the RMV.

Massachusetts' Lifetime Look-Back Law requires the RMV to consider a driver's entire driving history—including past OUIs, alcohol program assignments, out-of-state convictions and previous license revocations—when determining the length of a new OUI, vehicular homicide or chemical test refusal suspension. In some cases, a driver might even be forced to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in his or her vehicle.

Importance of Strong Legal Representation

If you are facing a possible conviction, it is extremely important that you reach out to a skilled Quincy OUI lawyer who is experienced in handling these types of cases. With the right attorney, you might be able minimize—or even completely eliminate—the negative penalties that could result from a conviction. I, David Flanagan, have previous professional experience as a private investigator, so I know how to identify the details that matter in case. I know how to handle a broad spectrum of OUI case types, and I am particularly skilled at handling the complex issues of underage OUI related to alcohol and out-of-state OUI offenses.

Turn to a professional who you can trust to handle your case with the attention it deserves. Contact my firm Flanagan & Associates, to learn more about your options for fighting your OUI charges in Quincy, Hingham or the surrounding cities.

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