OUI—operating under the influence in Massachusetts—is also known as DUI (driving under the influence), and in other states, DWI (driving while intoxicated). In all states, however, whether it’s called OUI, DUI, or DWI, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a crime. Whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony usually depends upon how many prior OUI/DUI convictions you’ve had. Additional penalties such as fines, driver’s license suspension or revocation, ignition interlock device mandates, or mandatory drug and alcohol programs also depend upon the number of prior OUI/DUI convictions as well as other factors. Talk to a qualified attorney about your OUI/DUI charge as well as any other prior OUI/DUI convictions you’ve had in the past.
What Constitutes Operating Under the Influence in Massachusetts?
Under Massachusetts law, operating under the influence is defined as an individual operating a motor vehicle on a public way with a .08% of alcohol in their blood or while under the influence of liquor, marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants, stimulants, or the vapors of glue.
In a typical operating under the influence of alcohol case, after the officer has probable cause to make an arrest, he or she will normally request that you submit to a breathalyzer. The results of the breathalyzer are used as evidence against you, or in other words, to prove that you were drinking and driving.
Although similar in many ways and with the same penalties, the charge of operating under the influence of drugs has some additional factors for your attorney to consider. In these cases, the Commonwealth will not have the added benefit of a breathalyzer result to help prove their case against you. In addition, the Commonwealth must prove that the alleged drug being used was, in fact, an illegal drug, or in the case of legal drugs, that the usage violated the law.
Whether you are charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, talk to a qualified OUI/DUI attorney as both types of OUI/DUI carry severe punishments.
After an OUI/DUI Charge in Massachusetts you Face Administrative and Criminal Penalties
Massachusetts administrative penalties are those enforced by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). Criminal penalties are enforced by the court system. If you are arrested and charged with OUI/DUI in Massachusetts, you face penalties from both the RMV as well as the courts.
Administrative penalties include license suspensions, fines, and a potential mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.
Administrative penalties are also enforced for breathalyzer (chemical test) refusals. Depending on the number of prior OUI/DUI convictions, breathalyzer refusal penalties are as follows:
- 1st offense – 180-day license suspension
- 2nd offense – three-year license suspension
- 3rd offense – five-year license suspension
- 4th or more offense – lifetime suspension
Criminal penalties include criminal charges (misdemeanor or felony), fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and jail time.
It is important to know that if you qualify for a public defender, he or she will likely not represent you in the administrative proceedings, but will only be assigned to represent you for the criminal case. Penalties are handed out in both forums, however, and legal representation for both can ensure all legal arguments and defenses are presented to both authorities.
How Long Will the OUI/DUI Stay on My Record?
Massachusetts has a lifetime lookback period. Simply put, this means that an OUI/DUI will remain on your record for life. This is true for the administrative penalties as well as criminal penalties. Ultimately, if you are charged with OUI/DUI with a prior offense, it does not matter how long ago the prior conviction occurred. It will “count” for purposes of determining how many OUIs you have and the corresponding penalties. This is true as well even if prior convictions for OUI/DUI were obtained out-of-state.
How Will an OUI/DUI Affect My Job or Job Search?
An OUI/DUI conviction can have negative consequences, not only by way of fines and loss of driving privileges, but also for your future. Many employers across the United States ask about past criminal convictions or perform background checks. Although there are a few legal protections afforded to those with past convictions, many employers will look unfavorably on an OUI/DUI conviction. This is true both with your current employer as well as with any potential future employers.
In addition to your reputation with employers, an OUI conviction will also make it difficult logistically to get to work if your license is suspended. An attorney can advise as to whether you are eligible for a hardship license, how long you have to wait to apply for one, and assist you through the process. If you are not eligible for a hardship license, however, you face the challenge of finding an alternate means to get to work.
Call the OUI Attorneys for Dedicated, Experienced OUI/DUI Representation
An OUI/DUI conviction in Massachusetts can have a devastating effect on many aspects of your life. Financially, an OUI can cost thousands of dollars; it can cause great hardship, both in your personal and professional life; and it can lead to jail time and a permanent criminal record. It is imperative to contact a reputable, knowledgeable OUI/DUI attorney that is familiar with the law, the consequences, legal options, and legal defenses that may apply to the facts of your case. Call the experienced criminal defense lawyers at OUI Attorneys for zealous representation and to discuss your case.