Massachusetts DUI Classifications

Commonly known as DUI, or driving under the influence, in Massachusetts DUI is referred to as OUI, or operating under the influence. This category of crimes is serious and, depending on the class, can result in substantial limitations to your liberties, including suspension of your driver’s license, requirement for an ignition interlock device, steep fines, and even mandatory jail time.

DUI Classes

A DUI class is based on the number of prior DUI convictions in Massachusetts and can be considered either a misdemeanor or felony. A felony is a crime that is punishable by imprisonment in a Massachusetts state prison facility. Misdemeanors generally have lighter sentences, but can result in a jail term in the house of corrections.

Misdemeanor DUI Charges

If you’ve been charged with a first offense DUI, barring any additional facts in the case, you face misdemeanor charges. For a first offense DUI in Massachusetts, the maximum penalties are:

  • $500 – $5000 fine
  • $250 head injury fee plus $50 victims fund fine
  • Prison time up to 2 ½ years
  • License suspension up to one year
  • Wait period of three months before ability to apply for hardship license

Additionally, those accused of a second offense DUI, will be charged with a misdemeanor. Penalties for a second offense DUI include:

  • $600 – $10,000 fine
  • Prison time of 30 days to 2 ½ years
  • License suspension up to two years
  • Wait period of one year to apply for a hardship license
  • Installation of ignition interlock device

Although not felonies, being accused of a first or second offense DUI is serious. Contacting a qualified DUI attorney can help protect your rights and avoid harsh DUI penalties. In addition, an attorney can discuss your options if charged with DUI. For example, if you were charged with a first or second offense DUI, you may have the option to take advantage of an alternative disposition to provide you with reduced penalties. For a first offense DUI, the alternative disposition is known as a 24D Disposition. For a second offense DUI, a Cahill Disposition may be available to you. There are several other dispositions available, depending upon the unique circumstances of your case.

Felony DUI Charges

If you have been charged with a third or subsequent DUI, you face felony penalties. A felony, as the most serious class of crime, carries with it life-altering repercussions. A conviction for a third DUI can mean:

  • $1,000 – $15,000 fine
  • Prison time 150 days to five years (includes mandatory jail time)
  • License suspension up to eight years
  • Waiting period of two years to apply for a hardship license
  • Installation of ignition interlock device

Additionally, if you are arrested and charged with a third or subsequent DUI, you are at risk of being held in custody without bail at your arraignment.

After your fourth DUI, there are even stricter penalties, and penalties increase all the way up through the ninth DUI, with progressively harsher penalties at every level. It is important to know as well that, in addition to all of the criminal penalties listed, you face additional administrative penalties through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles if you refused the breath test at the time of your arrest.

You also face felony charges if, while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you cause death or serious bodily injury to another individual. This means that you collide with another vehicle, or pedestrian, or you cause serious bodily injury to another individual in your vehicle. In fact, felony charges under this scenario can mean:

  • Imprisonment in state prison for up to 2 ½ to 10 years
  • Fines of $5,000

Contact a Reputable Massachusetts DUI Attorney

Whether your DUI charge falls under the misdemeanor class or felony class, speaking with a DUI lawyer can help you fight for your rights and preserve your freedom. Although DUI classes generally depend on the number of prior DUI convictions, there are exacerbating facts that can lead to felony charges for what would otherwise be a misdemeanor DUI. Additionally, there may be legal defenses to consider as well as options for alternative dispositions. Call OUI Attorneys to schedule a free consultation to discuss your DUI case with a network lawyer.