Operating under the influence (OUI) is a dangerous crime that can put others at risk of serious harm. For this reason, state lawmakers penalize these crimes harshly. In Massachusetts, OUI penalties increased even further with the enactment of Melanie’s Law. If you have been arrested for allegedly operating under the influence in Massachusetts, it is crucial to contact a Concord OUI defense attorney at Spring & Spring for a free consultation.
Being convicted of an OUI for the first time could result in a fine, driver’s license suspension and the possibility of prison time. If you fail the Breathalyzer test, your license will be suspended for at least 30 days. If you refuse to submit to a blood alcohol concentration (Breathalyzer) test during the traffic stop, you will face an administrative license suspension of 180 days.
The penalties for a first-offense OUI include:
The penalties for a first-offense operating under the influence conviction in Massachusetts depend on whether the individual qualifies for an alternative resolution known as a 24D Disposition. This alternative allows a first-time offender to reduce license suspension to 45 to 90 days with the completion of an alcohol education program (and the potential of up to two years’ probation). It also reduces the waiting period to apply for a hardship license to three days.
As is the case in most states, the penalties for an OUI conviction in Massachusetts increase with subsequent offenses. If you are convicted of a second OUI, you could face a fine of $600 to $10,000, as well as jail time of 30 days to 2.5 years, license suspension for up to 2 years, and a waiting period of 1 year to apply for a hardship license.
Under Melanie’s Law, any individual who is convicted two or more times of operating under the influence is required to install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle. In addition, if someone is convicted of manslaughter by a motor vehicle, the minimum sentence is five years. This law came into effect in 2005 after the death of Melanie Powell, who was struck and killed by a drunk driver while walking home.
A third-offense OUI in Massachusetts can lead to even more severe penalties. The fine for this conviction ranges from $1,000 to $15,000, along with jail time of up to 5 years, including a mandatory minimum sentence of 180 days. In addition, you could have your license suspended for up to 8 years, with a 2-year mandatory waiting period to apply for a hardship license.
If you are convicted of a fourth OUI offense in Massachusetts, you could face a fine of $1,500 to $25,000, prison time of 1 to 5 years (with mandatory jail time), driver’s license suspension for up to 10 years, a 5-year wait time to apply for a hardship license and a mandatory 90-day inpatient alcohol awareness program. Additional OUI convictions after the fourth can lead to fines of up to $50,000, up to 5 years in prison and permanent license revocation with no eligibility for a hardship license.
Operating under the influence convictions that involve aggravating circumstances, such as child endangerment or a car accident that causes bodily injuries, will come with even more extreme penalties. Contact our attorneys at Spring & Spring if you have been arrested for any type of OUI crime in Massachusetts. We will ensure the protection of your rights throughout the legal process and help minimize the penalties that you face.