There are many different reasons that you can have your driver’s license suspended in Massachusetts, and an OUI generally results in an automatic suspension from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The Massachusetts courts handle OUI proceedings independently of the RMV, meaning that even if your case is thrown out or you are found “not guilty,” you will still need to deal directly with the RMV in order to get your license reinstated following a suspension.
Read more below about how driver’s license suspensions work in Massachusetts following an OUI arrest, and learn about how we will help you handle this situation in tandem with your criminal case. Following an OUI arrest, there are a lot of different options that may be available for your situation depending on your criminal record, history of OUI arrests, your driving record, and more. During your free initial consultation, we will discuss our priorities to get your defense started, which may be time sensitive if we need to apply for a suspension appeal.
Does an OUI Mean An Automatic Driver’s License Suspension?
There are a few different ways that you can have your license suspended or revoked following an OUI, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. Below are the most common processes for how a suspension works.
Automatic Suspension For Refusing a Breath Test
When you receive your Massachusetts driver’s license, you contractually agree to an implied consent that states you will submit to a breath test if an officer orders it. You may refuse, but this refusal results in an automatic license suspension for 180 days, regardless of the outcome of your case. If we act quickly enough, and the circumstances are appropriate, then we can file an appeal within 15 days of your arrest to have your license reinstated until your case is completed. There is no guarantee that this appeal will be approved, but is a very important step to take if you want to minimize the impact of your arrest.
Failing a Breath Test
When you agree to submit to a breath test while carrying a driver’s license, you also agree that you will not operate your vehicle if you exceed the legal blood alcohol content (BAC). A BAC for an adult operating a passenger vehicle is 0.08%, a CDL driver operating a commercial vehicle is restricted to 0.04%, and a driver under the age of 21 has a maximum BAC of 0.02%.
As mentioned above, the RMV and the Massachusetts legal system operate in tandem, but separately from each other. This means that if you fail a breath test, your license is suspended by the RMV regardless of a conviction or not — a conviction adds an additional suspension at the end of your case.
How To Keep Your License During a Pending OUI Case in Massachusetts
There are a few different ways that you can regain your driving privileges during a pending case. The first is if your license was suspended after refusing a breath test: you can request an appeal within 15 days of your arrest. Otherwise, you can have your license reinstated after the 180-day administrative suspension if your case is still pending, provided that you pay the required reinstatement fees and follow the reapplication process.
The time-sensitive appeals process is only one example of why it is absolutely essential that you get in touch with a DUI/OUI attorney in Massachusetts as soon as you are able to. This arrest and the charges can cause major inconveniences and disruptions in your life regardless, and failure to act promptly can only exasperate these problems.
In some cases, you may be allowed to apply for a “hardship license,” which is granted from the state in situations where the offender will experience serious hardship if they are unable to operate a motor vehicle. This license is restricted by the certain days and hours that they are allowed to drive, and the driver will need to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle during the time that they have a hardship license. Additionally, they will be required to complete a treatment or alcohol awareness course before being considered for this option.
Getting Your License Back After Completing a Suspension
In Massachusetts, you can get up to four OUIs before you lose your license permanently, although each additional OUI comes with a longer license suspension. In addition to each suspension length, the offender will need to pay a series of fees to have their license reinstated at the end. Below are the basic suspension terms for each OUI:
A first OUI will result in a 1-year license suspension, in addition to the possibility of a 180-day administrative suspension if you refuse to submit to a breath test and do not successfully appeal this suspension.
A second OUI has a 2-year license suspension, in addition to having an IID installed for 2 years after having their license reinstated. If the offender is granted a hardship license, the time with an IID during this period will not count towards the two years following a full reinstatement. In order to qualify for a hardship license, the offender must attend a 2-week inpatient treatment program.
Following a third OUI, the offender will have their license suspended for 8 years, and will additionally be required to install an IID for 2 years after having their license returned. In order to be considered for a hardship license, the offender must complete a 90-day inpatient treatment program.
A fourth OUI has a penalty of a 10-year license suspension, and an additional 2 years of an IID in the vehicle after the license is returned. In order to be considered for a hardship license, the offender must complete a 90-day inpatient treatment program.
A fifth OUI results in a permanent license revocation with no chance of having the license reinstated and no options for a hardship license.
Contact Us Today
Contact us as soon as possible if you have been charged with an OUI in Massachusetts in order to begin working with an attorney today. We will work on finding all options available for you to have your license reinstated, or partial privileges granted if your situation warrants it.