What Happens When You Get an OUI in Massachusetts?
What happens when you get an OUI in Mass? We asked a local OUI attorney who practises criminal law Boston, MA to explain.
As any OUI attorneys will tell you, getting arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI) in Massachusetts is a big deal, even if you are a first time offender. The reason being, most judges or juries understand that drunk driving can lead to people being injured or even killed as a result of the crime, and this belief is based on a mountain of national data indicating that their understanding of the link between drunk drivers and fatal car accidents is true. For example, according to the Center for Disease Control, there were 10,497 people killed in drunk driving accidents throughout the United States in 2016. Moreover, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were an estimated 208 people killed in drunk driving accidents in Massachusetts in 2017 alone.
However, police can and do make mistakes, and unfortunately, many Massachusetts residents find themselves entangled with the criminal justice system either due to a police officer’s mistake or a poor lapse in judgment. Either way, it is important for you to know and understand exactly what will happen if you are convicted of OUI in Massachusetts.
1. You will get Arrested, Face Possible Jail Time, and Probably Have to Pay Fines
If you are suspected of DUI, you will more than likely be arrested, because the position of most police departments is that drunk drivers pose an immediate threat to the general public. If convicted, you could face a potential jail or prison sentence, fines, or both, and the length of the jail or prison sentence and the amount of the fines that could be imposed on you will vary significantly depending on the number of previous OUI convictions you have on your criminal record. The maximum fines and potential jail sentence that could be imposed on you under Massachusetts law for an OUI based on the number of previous OUI convictions on your criminal record are as follows:
- First OUI Conviction: Up to 2½ years in jail, $500-$5,000 in fines, or both
- Second OUI Conviction: 60 days to 2½ years in jail, $600-$10,000 in fines, or both
- Third OUI Conviction: 180 days to 2½ years in jail, $1,000-$15,000 in fines, or both
- Fourth OUI Conviction: 2 to 2½ years in jail, $1,500-$25,000 in fines, or both
- Fifth OUI Conviction: 2½ to 5 years in jail, $2,000-$50,000 in fines, or both
The imposition of a jail sentence, fines, or both is not mandatory. For example, certain first time offenders could qualify for 24D probation, which if completed, could allow you to keep the OUI off your criminal record for employment purposes.
2. Your License will be Suspended for a Certain Period of Time
Regardless of whether you are a first time offender or have several past OUIs on your criminal record, your license will be suspended as a result of an OUI conviction. Similar to the fines and jail sentences that could be imposed on you as a result of an OUI conviction, the length of time your license will be suspended depends on the number of previous OUI convictions you’ve had in the past. The period of time that your license could be suspended based on the number of previous OUI convictions you have on your criminal record is as follows:
- 24D Probation: 45-90 days
- First OUI Conviction: One year
- Second OUI Conviction: Two years
- Third OUI Conviction: Eight years
- Fourth OUI Conviction: Ten years
- Fifth OUI Conviction or More: Lifetime revocation
However, if your license has been suspended, you may be able to apply for a hardship license, but in many cases, your license has to be suspended for a certain length of time before you are eligible to apply.