This page is designed to be a brief summary of the statutory penalties for a conviction or plea in an OUI case. There is a wide and varied realm of possibilities. In addition to criminal penalties, there are a wide range of driver's license suspensions that come into play. Changes like the lifetime lookback for prior offenses, the .08 Per Se violation and Melanie's Law have all made drastic changes to the Massachusetts OUI law, the consequences of this offense and the proceedings both in court and at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. This is designed to give you a brief, thumbnail sketch of the basic penalties involved. It will be necessary to consult with your lawyer as to the actual and specific full range of penalties that you may be exposed to for a conviction or plea to the charge of OUI. Massachusetts General Law Chap. 90, Sec. 24 regulates the charge of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol. A disposition in an OUI case can occur as a result of a conviction after a trial, a guilty plea or an admission to sufficient facts. Like all other charges in Massachusetts, your OUI charge will be a part of your permanent Board of Probation record. Even after the case is ultimately terminated or dismissed, this charge and disposition are still reflected on your record.

NEW STATUTORY REVISIONS

Lifetime Lookback

Effective November 29, 2002, the 10 year lookback period for subsequent OUI offenses charged under M.G.L C 90, s.24, has been revised to a lifetime lookback period. This means that if you have an OUI conviction or Continuance Without A Finding (CWOF) anywhere in your lifetime history, a new OUI charged will be enhanced to the appropriate number subsequent offense. Previously, any conviction more than 10 years old would have no effect on subsequent offense charges or mandatory sentencing. If you have any prior OUI convictions in your lifetime, you should consult with an experienced drunk driving defense lawyer to see if they can be vacated.

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Per Se - .08

Effective 7/1/03, a defendant's Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08 or higher can be considered as "per se" evidence of intoxication. The government can now prove OUI by proving beyond a reasonable doubt: (1) the operator's right to operate was impaired by the alcohol they consumed, and/or; (2) the defendant's BAC was .08 or higher and therefore he was intoxicated, by law. Prior to 7/1/03, the government had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the operator's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely was impaired by the alcohol they consumed. The law stated that a judge or jury could consider a defendant's BAC in determining whether the operator was under the influence of alcohol and their ability to operate a motor vehicle safely was impaired. This was considered a rebuttable presumption.

 

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PENALTIES

First Offense

  • Incarceration: Not greater than 2 years in the House of Correction.
  • Fine: Not less than $500, not more than $5,000.
  • $250 Head Injury Fund,$250 State Fee, $50 OUI Assessment, $50 Victim Witness Fee,
  • License suspension for one year: A work or school hardship consideration is available in 3 months, a general hardship consideration is available in 6 months.

Alternative Disposition

  • Probation with the entry and completion of an alcohol education program at the expense of the defendant.
  • License suspension for not less than 45 days, not more than 90 days. The license suspension is 210 days for drivers under the age of 21.
  • Hardship license available once the defendant is registered with the alcohol education program, 3 business days from the date of disposition.
  • Second offenses occurring beyond 10 years of the finding of the prior offense are allowed to have this disposition imposed.Tthe license suspension should be 45 daysto 90 days.The RMV must honor the 24D license suspension of 45 days - 90 days. The RMV is, however, still imposing a 3 year loss of license for the Breath Test Refusal. You will be eligible for the hardship license through the remainder of this period of suspension with the condition of the installation and maintainence of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). The RMV will also require that you install and maintain an Ignition Interlock Device for 2 years as a condition of the full reinstatement of your license.

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Second Offense

  • Incarceration: Minimum sentence of 60 days with 30-day incarceration mandatory and not to exceed 2 years in the House of Correction.
  • Fine: Not less than $600, not more than $10,000.
  • License suspension is for 2 years: A work or school hardship is available for consideration after 12 months, a general hardship consideration is available after one 18 months of the suspension. Any hardship license is conditioned upon the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. You will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device for 2 years upon the full reinstatement of your license.

Alternative Disposition

  • Probation for 2 years.
  • 14-day in-patient treatment program at the expense of the defendant. The Defendant will also have to complete a 60 hour Second Offender's Aftercare Program (SOAP).
  • License suspension for 2 years: A work or school hardship consideration available after 12 months, a general hardship consideration is available after 18 months. Any hardship license is conditioned upon the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. You will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device for 2 years upon the full reinstatement of your license.

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Third Offense

  • Incarceration not to be less than 180 days with a 150-day incarceration mandatory and not to exceed 5 years in the state prison (felony).
  • The incarceration may be served in a secure treatment facility in lieu of the House of Correction
  • .
  • Fine: Not less than $1,000, not more than $15,000.
  • License suspension is for 8 years: A work or school hardship consideration is available after 2 years, a general hardship consideration is available after 4 years. Any hardship license is conditioned upon the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. You will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device for 2 years upon the full reinstatement of your license.

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Fourth Offense

  • Incarceration not to be less than 2 years with a 1-year minimum incarceration mandatory and not to exceed 5 years in the state prison (felony).
  • Fine: Not less than $1,500, not more than $25,000.
  • License suspension is for 10 years: A work or school hardship consideration is available after 5 years, a general hardship consideration is available after 8 years. Any hardship license is conditioned upon the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device. You will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device for 2 years upon the full reinstatement of your license.

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Fifth Offense

  • Incarceration is not less than 2 years with 24 months minimum incarceration mandatory and not more than 5 years in the state prison (felony).
  • Fine: Not less than $2,000, not more than $50,000.
  • License suspension for life with no possibility of hardship consideration.

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OPERATORS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD

Massachusetts General Law Chap. 90, Sec. 24 provides a detailed and intricate range of penalties for operators under 21 years old charged with and/or convicted for OUI. The most significant difference between the under 21 penalties and the adult penalties is the increase in license suspension for under 21 operators. Operators under the age of 21 years old face license suspension from a minimum of 180 days to a maximum of 390 days. It is necessary to speak with an experienced and qualified criminal defense lawyer to fully understand the under 21 years old penalties available for your case.

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SUBSEQUENT OFFENSES

Massachusetts General Law Chap. 90, Sec. 24, effective November 29, 2002, established a lifetime lookback period for determining subsequent offenses. The lifetime period encompasses the date of the conviction or finding of the prior OUI offense to the date of arrest of the subsequent OUI offense. If an operator only has 1 prior conviction in his history and that conviction occurred more than 10 years prior to the date of the new offense, the operator can receive a first offense disposition. It is unclear at this time, as detailed above, whether the license suspension will be for the 45 days allowed for a first offense or for the 2 years required for a second offense. Outside of a first offense committed by an operator with no prior criminal record, it is still within the deciding judge's discretion to impose penalties beyond the mandatory minimums. In any criminal case a judge will review a defendant's entire criminal history record in sentencing.

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LICENSE REINSTATEMENT FEES AFTER CONVICTION

  • 1st Offense - $500.00
  • 2nd Offense - $700.00
  • 3rd Offense - $1,200.00
  • License Reinstatement Fee - Administrative Suspension - $100.00

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738 Main Street                         Route 228                             Hingham, MA 02043

The Torney Bldg.,
15 Foster Street,
Quincy, MA 02169

54 Samoset Road,
Route 44,
Plymouth, MA 02360

Phone: 866.770.1100