If you have been charged with your first DUI / OUI offense, you should take it very seriously.

A conviction for a DUI / OUI in Massachusetts can have long lasting consequences that you will have to deal with for years.  The first time offender will be faced with fines, possible jail time and temporary license suspension.  Whether or not you think you need legal assistance with a first DUI offense case, you have nothing to lose by speaking with an attorney for free.

It’s important that you take a DUI / OUI conviction very seriously, as it affects your criminal record, in turn having an impact on your future employment and freedom.

Read the information below from DMV.org to learn more about the consequences and elements of a first OUI offense in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts OUI Basics

In Massachusetts, OUI?Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol?is a serious criminal offense. You can expect to have your license suspended, pay a major fine and even spend time in jail for your first offense. It gets much worse for subsequent offenses.

And then there’s the insurance surcharges. Remember that in Massachusetts, any moving violation or accident will end up costing you mandated surcharges on your auto insurance.

So you’re clearly better off with a designated driver. But in case you need it, here’s a guide to OUI laws in Massachusetts.

Melanie’s Law

You may want to read the Summary of Melanie’s Law, which made Massachusetts OUI penalties stricter and strengthened the OUI laws in our state.

Legal Limit for OUI in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, if you register a blood-alcohol content of .08 or higher, you are going to be arrested for OUI. If you’re younger than 21, which is the legal age for drinking in Massachusetts, you will face administrative penalties if you test at .02 or higher, plus standard charges at .08 or higher.

You can refuse a chemical breath test or a blood-alcohol test, but if you do, the arresting officer can take away your license on the spot.

Penalties for OUI in Massachusetts

The penalties for OUI in Massachusetts are substantial and will hit your ability to drive and your pocketbook, and perhaps even give you jail time, depending on the seriousness of the offense and whether you are a repeat offender.

Here’s a round-up of mandatory OUI penalties in Massachusetts. You can find further information in Chapter 2 of the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual.

First Offense

  • Fine: $500 to $5,000
  • Jail: No minimum to 2.5 years
  • Driver’s license suspension: one year

Drivers arrested for a first OUI offense can get their sentences reduced by agreeing to complete a state-approved alcohol education program. This is not an option after the first offense.

Second Offense

  • Fine: $600 to $10,000
  • Jail: 30 days to 2.5 years
  • Driver’s license suspension: two years

Third Offense (felony)

  • Fine: $1,000 to $15,000
  • Jail: 150 days to five years
  • Suspension: eight years

Fourth Offense (felony)

  • Fine: $1,500 to $25,000
  • Jail: one to five years
  • Suspension: 10 years

Fifth Offense (felony)

  • Fine: $20,000 to $50,000
  • Jail: two to five years
  • Suspension: lifetime

Your Costs if Arrested for OUI

It will cost you thousands of dollars if arrested for a first OUI offense. A lot more after that.

Expect to pay any or all of the following costs for a first offense:

  • Towing: $75
  • Fine: $500
  • License suspension reinstatement fee: $100
  • Bail: $250
  • Court costs: $250
  • Insurance surcharge: $1,000
  • Attorney fees: $1,500

So you’re looking at about $4,000 minimum for a first offense and that doesn’t include lost work time, transportation costs, or the cost of alcohol counseling, if mandated by the court.

Finding an Attorney

With so much money at stake for even an initial conviction, it makes sense to consider hiring an attorney with solid experience trying OUI cases in the community where you will go before a judge. There are a lot of attorneys out there looking for OUI cases, so you should take some time and get recommendations for someone who can really help you.

Massachusetts Driver Alcohol Education Programs

If you’re charged with a first OUI offense, you can reduce your sentence by agreeing to complete a state-approved Driver Alcohol Education Program (DAEP).

The program, run by state-approved outside groups, consists of an intake assessment, 32 hours of group meetings over 16 weeks, exposure to self-help groups through attending two meetings in your community, and a victim-impact presentation with speakers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Expect to pay about $600 for the course.

It’s no easy feat to beat a drunk driving conviction.  It can be a challenge to understand the Massachusetts DUI / OUI laws and courtroom proceedings, and this is why it may be in your best interest to hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer experienced in first offense OUI cases.

When you call the DUI / OUI lawyers at Revelli & Luzzo in Worcester MA, your first consultation is always free.  We can answer your questions about a first OUI offense and your related rights and options, which often vary depending on your specific case.  If we cannot provide legal services to you for some reason, we will guide you in the right direction.  Contact us to request your free consultation so we can help you win your OUI case and protect your freedom.