Understanding A Massachusetts OUI Charge
“Operating under the influence” (or “OUI”), also called driving under the influence (“DUI”), is a serious offense in the state of Massachusetts that carries severe penalties. An OUI charge can occur if a law enforcement officer suspects you are illicitly operating your vehicle while under the influences of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances. The main factor in determining if you are charged is your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. In Massachusetts, you cannot operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.8% or higher or if you are otherwise under the influence of mind-altering substances. There are some variances in acceptable BAC limits depending on your age and occupation.
Keep in mind you do not necessarily need to be driving your vehicle to be considered “operating” it. You can still potentially be charged with an OUI if you are, for example, idling in your vehicle with the engine on while under the influence.
Penalties For An OUI Conviction
Many do not realize the extent of penalties that can face those charged with an OUI. A conviction can mean fines, license revocation, and even jail time; repeated OUI offenses lead to even harsher punishment.
Some of the consequences of an OUI charge include:
- First Offense: up to 2.5 years of jail time, fines of up to $5,000, license revocation of 1 year
- Second Offense: guaranteed 30 days and potentially up to 2.5 years of jail time, fines of up to $10,000, license revocation of 2 years
- Third Offense: guaranteed 150 days and potentially up to 5 years of jail time, fines of up to $15,000, license revocation of 8 years
As you can see, the maximum penalties of an OUI charge can be steep. However, lighter sentences are possible with the right legal advocacy. That is why it is critical you retain the services of an experienced lawyer if facing an OUI charge.
Negotiating For Probation
If this is your first or second OUI charge, our Springfield criminal defense attorney can help argue for an alternate disposition through probation. For a first offense, this can help you avoid jail time and even result in a dismissal of charges in exchange for community service and the completion of educational courses. A second offense can still avoid harsher punitive measures by agreeing to inpatient and outpatient care. No matter your circumstances, our legal team is committed to helping you overcome the hardships an OUI can bring and getting your life back on track.