There are certain limited cases where DUI, or driving under the influence, is governed by federal law but in most cases state law will dictate the crime. Each state enacts its own DUI laws. Massachusetts DUI laws are similar in some respects to other state laws but differ in some ways as well. For example, in Massachusetts a DUI is referred to as OUI, or operating under the influence.
What are the Massachusetts OUI Laws?
Massachusetts DUI/ OUI is defined under Massachusetts Statute Chapter 90, Section 24. It provides, in part, that anyone operating a motor vehicle, in a place where the public has a right of access, with a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher or while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulants, or smelling or inhaling the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors is guilty of DUI.
Broken down in simpler terms, the prosecution must prove three elements, each beyond a reasonable doubt, in order to convict an individual of OUI. The three elements include:
- The accused defendant was operating a motor vehicle;
- While on a public way;
- And under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Note that you can be convicted of OUI after consuming alcohol or drugs. In an OUI drug case, the state must prove an additional element — that the drug is included in the Massachusetts Controlled Substances Act.
Additional Penalties Under Massachusetts DUI Law
Impaired so that you Should Not Be Driving
If a chemical test result is not available, possibly because it was refused by the defendant driver, the state can still prosecute for OUI by offering other evidence. This evidence can include the officer’s own observations, video evidence, field sobriety tests results, and other circumstantial evidence.
Penalties for a .04% BAC if you are a Commercial Vehicle Driver
Although the legal limit is still .08% for a criminal conviction, if you hold a commercial driver’s license, your license can be put in jeopardy for a BAC of .04% or higher.
Penalties for a .02% BAC if you are Under the Age of 21 Years Old
Like the commercial driver’s license, the legal alcohol limit under criminal law is still .08%. However, if you are under 21 years old at the time of arrest and your BAC is .02% or higher, you face administrative penalties under the Massachusetts RMV. These penalties include driver’s license suspension.
A Massachusetts DUI Attorney Can Help Fight for Your Rights
If you’ve been charged with DUI/OUI under Massachusetts law, talk to an attorney to help protect your rights. Your driving privileges, freedom, and reputation are at stake. The OUI Attorneys network lawyers are available to discuss your DUI/OUI. Whether your BAC result was over .08%, or you are a commercial driver, or under the age of 21 years old, you may have a valid defense to your case or other options, including alternative dispositions, available to you.