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OUI charges and penalties in Massachusetts

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2024 | DUI/OUI |

Operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a significant offense in Massachusetts. Driving while intoxicated carries severe penalties for those convicted.

Understanding the laws and consequences surrounding OUI allows you to drive safely while avoiding prosecution.

Defining OUI in Massachusetts

Under state law, OUI refers to operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of both. The legal limit for blood alcohol concentration in Massachusetts is 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and over. Driving under the influence of any amount of alcohol carries penalties for drivers younger than 21.

Penalties for OUI convictions

The state can impose severe penalties for OUI including possible prison time. The sentence depends on factors such as the offender’s BAC level, prior offenses and aggravating circumstances.

If convicted for a first offense, you could receive a one-year license suspension, a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 30 months in jail. The judge can also require you to enroll in and complete an alcohol education program at your own expense.

The second conviction for OUI carries a two-year license suspension, up to $10,000 in fines and a mandatory 30-day jail sentence.  The court will also impose mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device.

Individuals convicted of a third OUI can lose their license for up to eight years. The fine increases to $15,000 and the mandatory minimum sentence is up to 150 days. The maximum sentence increases to five years in jail.

Massachusetts orders felony charges for a fourth or subsequent OUI. The person can lose their license for life and receive a fine of up to $25,000 along with one to five years in jail.

More than a third of auto accident fatalities in Massachusetts involve an impaired driver, so the state takes these cases seriously. The penalties can have long-lasting consequences, affecting employment opportunities, financial stability and personal relationships. Knowing what to expect when you go to court for these charges can help you decide how to proceed.