IF I AM CHARGED WITH AN OUI, WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL (OUI) PENALTIES I AM FACING?

OUI DUI Penalties

OUI First Offense

In Massachusetts, even a first OUI (DUI/DWI) offense can potentially carry with it a number of harsh and outright devastating penalties which could include a license suspension, large mandatory fines, increased insurance costs and, possibly, jail time. Since most prosecutor’s offices in Massachusetts do not plea bargain OUI (DUI/DWI) cases, without quality legal representation, you may find yourself thinking that your situation is completely inescapable and you have no choice but to plead “guilty.” Luckily, there are lawyers, like attorney Sergey Mikhlin, who are not afraid to hold the Commonwealth to its burden and, if necessary, take your case to trial.

OUI DUI Penalties

In Massachusetts, even a first OUI (DUI/DWI) offense can potentially carry with it a number of harsh and outright devastating penalties which could include a license suspension, large mandatory fines, increased insurance costs and, possibly, jail time. Since most prosecutor’s offices in Massachusetts do not plea bargain OUI (DUI/DWI) cases, without quality legal representation, you may find yourself thinking that your situation is completely inescapable and you have no choice but to plead “guilty.” Luckily, there are lawyers, like attorney Sergey Mikhlin, who are not afraid to hold the Commonwealth to its burden and, if necessary, take your case to trial.

oui attorney massachusetts
Alternative Disposition of a First Offense OUI

In Massachusetts, however, first-time OUI offenders are generally eligible for an alternative disposition under General Laws c. 90, § 24D. This is a so-called “24D program” which allows for a resolution of your first OUI case with much less severe penalties. Specifically, if a first-time DUI offender is willing to enroll into a 16-week outpatient alcohol education program, he may be eligible for a disposition that would not involve a criminal conviction. Instead, such first-time offender may receive a 1-year probation (also known as a “1-year CWOF”). His or her license will generally be suspended by the court for only 45-90 days following the disposition of the case. And, most importantly, a person who chooses to accept the 24D disposition will be eligible for a hardship or restrictive license within 3 business days of the case disposition and with a confirmation that the person has completed the intake interview at the alcohol education program. If a first-time OUI offender successfully completes the program and satisfies all of the conditions of probation (including the payment of all imposed fees), at the expiration of the one year probation, the criminal case will be finished.

Some lawyers erroneously advise their clients that their case will be dismissed at the end of the one year probation. While the 1-year probationary disposition that most first-time OUI offenders receive is not considered to be a criminal conviction within the meaning of the applicable law, it, nevertheless, remains on the person’s criminal record indefinitely and will be treated as a prior OUI conviction if that person gets charged with another OUI in the future.

OUI (DUI/DWI) Second Offense

In 2002, Massachusetts enacted the so-called “Lifetime-Look Back Law,” which, in essence, makes any prior conviction or CWOF for an OUI, no matter how old such conviction or CWOF is, a predicate offense for the purposes of determining the level of a person’s newly charged offense. In other words if a person, who is being charged with an OUI in 2018,  only has one prior OUI from 1981 which resulted in a 1-year CWOF, he or she will be charged as an OUI Second Offender despite the 37-year gap between the two OUIs.

In Massachusetts, a Second Offense OUI is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $600-$10,000 and a potential period of incarceration of not less than 60 days (30 days mandatory) and not more than 2 ½ years in a house of correction. Also, the defendant will be responsible for a number of fees most of which will not be waived by the court. It also requires a driver’s license suspension for a period of 2 years with the first eligibility for a limited hardship license after 1 year. Upon being granted a hardship license, the second-time offender be required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device in his vehicle. The second-time offender will have to maintain the ignition interlock device in his vehicle for an additional 2 years following the full restoration of his driving privileges.

Alternative Disposition of a Second Offense OUI

In Massachusetts, however, a second-time OUI offender may receive an alternative disposition that does not involve a period of incarceration. Instead, such alternative Second Offense DUI disposition would typically include a 2-year probationary term, a completion of a 14-day in-patient treatment program paid for by the defendant, and a 2 year loss of license. Prior to being considered for a hardship license 1 year after the disposition of his/her case, a person convicted of an OUI, 2ndOffense, will have to complete the inpatient program and be enrolled in an aftercare program. The typical second-time offender ignition interlock requirements will also apply under this disposition.

OUI Third Offense

In Massachusetts, a Third Offense OUI is a felony punishable by a fine of $1,000-$15,000, as well as a potential period of incarceration of not less than 180 days (150 days mandatory) and not more than 5 years in a state prison. Also, the defendant will be responsible for a number of fees most of which will not be waived by the court. It also triggers an 8-year driver’s license suspension with the first eligibility for a limited hardship license after 2 years.