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OUI Penalties

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Our attorneys answer questions about the penalties for an OUI conviction in Massachusetts every day. Our clients tell us all the time that there is so much information available online that it is tough to distinguish the real information from advertising. We think that our clients deserve to know the real information so that they can make the best decision possible. Our attorneys can help you determine the risk of a conviction and whether you should take the case to trial.

Below, we have compiled the information you need to know to evaluate the penalties you may be facing if you are convicted of an OUI for the first time or if you have been convicted in the past.

OUI First Offense Breath Test Refusal 

Just for refusing the breath test after an arrest, your license is immediately suspended for 180 days, before you even have appeared in court.

Conviction

  • Incarceration: Not more than 2 1/2 years House of Correction;
  • Fine: $500-$5,000; and
  • License suspended for 1 year; work/education hardship license considered in 3 months; general hardship license in 6 months

Continuance without a Finding

A Continuance without a Finding (or CWOF for short) is similar to, but not technically, a guilty plea. You are essentially admitting that you could be convicted, but you will agree that in exchange for having the charge dismissed at some future point in time, you will pay a fines and participate in probation, satisfying all of the conditions set out below and possibly others set by the court.

  • Fines and court fees: $2500 or more as well as an increase in insurance costs;
  • Unsupervised probation for one year;
  • Mandatory participation in 16 week (1 hour per week) alcohol-drug education (DAE) program paid for by defendant; and
  • License suspended for 45 to 90 days, not including any penalty for breath test refusal, or 210 days for drivers under age 21. Eligible for work/education hardship license right away, in most cases.

OUI Second Offense Breath Test Refusal

If you refuse to take a breath test on a second offense OUI charge in Massachusetts, your license is immediately suspended for 3 years, before you even appear in court. There are only two ways to get this suspension vacated:

  • You could have the suspension vacated at a Registry of Motor Vehicles Hearing (you must appear for the hearing at the Boston RMV office within fifteen days of date of the chemical test refusal or the right to a hearing is waived forever); or
  • If the following two conditions occur. First, you must get the case dismissed or obtain a verdict of Not Guilty AND, after one of those two events has occurred, obtain an order from a judge in which the Court orders the RMV to reinstate your license.

Even if you get the case dismissed or obtain a not guilty, the government will still have an opportunity to ask the court to keep the suspension in place.  An experienced attorney will need to convince the judge otherwise and the court is allowed to consider many factors including your driving history and the circumstances of your arrest even if you were found not guilty.

Conviction

  • Incarceration: Not less than 60 days (at least 30 days must actually be served), not more then 2 1/2 years House of Correction;
  • Fine: $600-$10,000;
  • License suspended for 2 years, work/education hardship considered in 1 year; general hardship in 18 months. (Note: In almost every case, with a breath test refusal or failure, you won’t be eligible for a hardship or full license restoration for at least 3 years total); and
  • Ignition Interlock device installed in your car at your own expense for 2 years, when you become eligible for hardship or license reinstatement.

Continuance without a Finding

  • Probation for 2 years;
  • 14 day confined (inpatient) alcohol treatment program paid for by the defendant;
  • License suspended for two years, work/education hardship considered in 1 year; general hardship in 18 months; and
  • Ignition interlock device installed in your car at your own expense for 2 years as a condition of any license reinstatement (including hardship license).

If your prior offense is over 10 years old, you may be eligible to have the penalties limited to first offense penalties. The Registry, however, would still treat you as a second offender for license reinstatement.

OUI Third Offense Conviction

  • Incarceration: Not less than 180 days (at least 150 days must actually be served), not more than 5 years State Prison (this is a felony);
  • May be served in a prison treatment program;
  • Fine: $1,000-$15,000;
  • License suspended for 8 years, work/education hardship considered in 2 years; general hardship in 4 years;
  • If there is a breath test refusal, additional 5 year suspension will be imposed; and
  • The Commonwealth may seize, keep, and/or sell your vehicle.

Continuance without a Finding (CWOF)

Not available

OUI Fourth Offense Conviction

  • Incarceration: Not less than 2 years (at least 1 year must actually be served), not more than 5 years in State Prison (fourth Offense OUI is a Felony Offense);
  • Fine: $1,500-$25,000;
  • License suspended for 10 years, work/education hardship considered in 5 years; general hardship in 8 years;
  • If breath test refusal, lifetime license loss; and

Commonwealth may seize, keep, and/or sell your vehicle.

Continuance without a Finding (CWOF)

  • Not available

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