In Massachusetts, a drunk driving charge is legally referred to as OUI (operating under the influence), although most people know it as DUI. If you are facing an OUI charge, you are in the company of doctors, teachers, clerks, housewives and students. A conviction from OUI is one of the rare laws that can change otherwise law abiding citizens into criminals in an instant. The laws in Massachusetts are complicated and come with strict penalties, and if you are facing a drunk driving charge, you will need to know what you are up against. Learning statutes and procedures is not really an option for most. A qualified local Massachusetts DUI lawyer can best help you with your OUI charge. A DUI / OUI is a serious criminal charge, and no longer a mere traffic infraction. Because of the complexity of the laws, the practice of defending DUI / OUI cases has evolved into a highly specialized field. A conviction can cause serious life altering repercussions with your family, your job and your freedom. It is strongly suggested that you contact a qualified local DUI / OUI attorney to represent you, because your case can be won.
The legal driving limit under the Massachusetts “per se” law is a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08, and for this you will be arrested. The law only addresses your BAC and nothing else. You may be driving perfectly, but if you’re pulled over for another infraction and you fail a breath test, you will be arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail. However, once you are pulled over, you will be asked to take a series of field sobriety tests. You’re familiar with them: touching your nose with eyes closed, following a flashlight beam, walking a straight line. You also will be asked to take a breath test. It is your legal right to refuse both of these tests. As a matter of fact, most attorneys will suggest you refuse, since your refusal can not be entered as evidence into your court case. However if you should refuse the breath test, your license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days, as explained below.
After your arrest, you will be facing a court case dealing with jail time, fines and fees, and remedial education training. You will also be presented with an administrative case handled by the RMV, which will manage the suspension of your license, its reinstatement or revocation, and points against your license. Your refusal to take the breath test will apply negatively only to the RMV case and not the court case. Your DUI lawyer can help decipher these issues and can often appear in court for you for some of the hearings. Contact an experienced local Massachusetts DUI attorney right away for a free consultation on your case.
If you are arrested outside your home state, be sure to ask your attorney how this law will impact you.
The penalties listed below are called for by statute, are not complete, and can often be removed or reduced significantly with the assistance of a local Massachusetts OUI attorney.
• Incarceration – up to 2.5 years jail *
• Fines – $500 to $5,000 *
• License Suspension – up to 1 year. Reinstatement fee $500
• Limited License Application – with employer letter, enrollment in DUI education program * and more
• Insurance – SR22 high-risk driver insurance required for 3 years.
ADDITIONAL COSTS AND CONSEQUENCES
• Bail – set by court, required before being released after being arrested, additional nighttime bail fee $50
• Towing – $100 plus $30 for each day vehicle is impounded.
• License Hearing - $500 for the hearing to request your license not be suspended.
• Victim Witness Fee – $50 mandatory
• Drunk Driving Victim Trust Fund - $50 mandatory
• Head Injury Treatment Services Fee - $250 mandatory
• * Probation Service Fee - $65 monthly, in lieu of jail time, if probation is offered
• * DUI School - completion of an approved alcohol education program at $567.22 cost, if approved
• Insurance –As a designated “high risk” driver, your insurance company will raise your rates significantly. Expect your insurance rates to double or more.
• Record – DUI conviction will remain on driving record permanently
• Employment – offender may lose time off work and possibly even their job.
• Immigration and travel – restrictions can apply with certain convictions
• Vehicle – possible vehicle seizure for multiple violations
Additional offenses will bring significantly higher penalties, up to 5 years in prison and $50,000 in fines. Don’t take a chance with your freedom. It is highly recommended that you contact a qualified DUI attorney right away for a FREE CONSULTATION on your case. Your case CAN be won with the right representation.