29 people are killed in a car accident involving an alcohol-impaired driver every day in the United States, which is why being charged with DUI is a big deal. OUI attorneys all over Massachusetts see first hand what an OUI conviction can do to your life and future. You could go to jail, have to pay fines, and in certain circumstances, have to complete an alcohol treatment program. The fact is that Massachusetts has enacted extremely strict OUI laws in an effort to deter you from driving drunk because it is an undisputed fact that drunk driving leads to people being injured or killed. Moreover, drunk driving accidents, in general, are expensive. According to the, drunk driving accidents cost our society roughly $44 billion in damages and lost productivity in 2010.
Additionally, there were 1,370 people killed in Massachusetts from 2003-2012 due to drunk driving accidents according to the Center for Disease Control. Furthermore, people are killed by drunk driving accidents in our state at a rate of 1.8 deaths per 100,000 members of the population. Due to this, many state prosecutors and judges statewide will have very little, if any, sympathy for you if you are being charged with an OUI. As such, you need to be keenly aware of our state’s OUI laws and how a Massachusetts OUI attorney can help you navigate our state’s complex criminal justice system.
OUI Laws in Massachusetts
If you have been charged with an OUI offense, the potential sentence you could be facing will be determined by whether or not you have been convicted of a DUI in the past. Massachusetts, like many other states, has enhancement provisions in its DUI statute that increase the severity of the potential sentence that could be imposed on an OUI offender based on the number of previous OUI convictions the offender has on their criminal record. Moreover, these enhancement provisions require judges to impose mandatory minimum jail sentences on repeat OUI offenders.
Pursuant to “M.G.L. ch.90 §24, the potential sentence and fines that could be imposed on you based on the number of DUI convictions on your criminal record are as follows:
- First DUI Conviction: Up to 2½ years in jail, $500-$5,000 in fines, or both
- Second DUI Conviction: 60 days to 2½ years in jail, $600-$10,000 in fines, or both
- Third DUI Conviction: 180 days to 2½ years in jail, $1,000-$15,000 in fines, or both
- Fourth DUI Conviction: 2 to 2½ years in jail, $1,500-$25,000 in fines, or both
- Fourth DUI Conviction: 2½ to 5 years in jail, $2,000-$50,000 in fines, or both
License Suspension for a DUI Offense
As you might have gathered, the fines and jail sentence imposed on you for an OUI can be harsh, but normally, having your driver’s license suspended is the worst punishment you will endure as a result of one poor choice. Similar to the jail sentence and fines imposed on OUI offenders, the length of time your license will be suspended depends on whether or not you have any previous OUI convictions. The length of time your license will be suspended based on the number of previous DUI convictions on your criminal record are as follows:
- First DUI Conviction: One year
- Second DUI Conviction: Two years
- Third DUI Conviction: Eight years
- Fourth DUI Conviction: Ten years
- Fifth DUI Conviction or More: Lifetime revocation
Probation for a First Time DUI Offense
Luckily, first time DUI offenders do have a legal alternative to the sentences that would normally be imposed on them by statute. First-time offenders can elect to enter probation, which is typically referred to as 24D probation because the terms of this type of probation are outlined in M.G.L. ch.90 §24D. 24D probation is specifically tailored to OUI offenders, and it offers you a more lenient legal option as compared to the potential sentence you would be facing for your first DUI under M.G.L. ch.90 §24. Some of the key terms of 24D probation include:
- Your license will be suspended for 45 to 90 days with no credit for the amount of time your license was suspended before you entered the program, but you will be eligible for a hardship license.
- You will have to pay probation fees, and the probation can last up to two years.
- You will have to enter and complete an alcohol education program
Although 24D probation can last for a long period of time and be expensive, it is a good option if you are a first time offender. It allows you to both minimize the amount of damage a DUI conviction can have on your future by reducing the period of time your license is suspended and keep the DUI off of your criminal record.
How can a Massachusetts OUI Attorney Help?
Getting arrested for OUI in Massachusetts is a serious charge that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but the severity of the punishment imposed on you will often be determined by how experienced your lawyer is. At Coughlin Law, our attorney has years of experience helping individuals just like you navigate our state’s complex criminal justice system, and our Massachusetts DUI attorney is ready to start working on your defense now. So, if you have been arrested for OUI, call our office today to find out an experienced DUI attorney can help you.