While many states use DUI for driving under the influence, Massachusetts calls it OUI. OUI stands for operating under the influence, which is a punishable offense. A driver may face several penalties for driving under the influence.
Overview of OUI in Massachusetts
OUI is the standard charge in Massachusetts for drivers who are intoxicated while the vehicle is in motion. The first two OUI charges commonly count as a misdemeanor, unless a fatality or injury occurs, while a third OUI counts as a felony.
A driver is legally intoxicated in Massachusetts at a blood alcohol content of 0.08. or higher. Commercial drivers are considered intoxicated at a 0.04 BAC, and drivers under 21 cannot register above 0.02 under zero-tolerance laws.
Under implied consent laws, drivers have agreed to chemical testing by having a license, so refusal may be penalized with license suspension. However, a criminal defense strategy can challenge the accuracy of Breathalyzers, citing health conditions or lack of calibration.
Penalties for a first OUI commonly include up to 30 months in jail, fines up to $5,000 and a one-year license suspension. First offenders may get the license suspension reduced under the 24D disposition program. The 24D program is a special offender program that offers alternatives to jail terms, such as probation and alcohol treatment.
For a second offense, penalties include a 30-month jail term, up to a $10,000 fine and a 30-month license suspension. Some second offenders may qualify for first offender programs to avoid jail by participating in an inpatient or outpatient program and a one-year probation.
An OUI conviction can follow a driver for a long time, but it’s important to note that mistakes can be made by the arresting officer. Even if drivers are found guilty, they may plea to the lesser offense of wet reckless driving.