OUI / DWI / DUI Attorney in Massachusetts
Whatever the acronym – OUI (Operating Under the Influence) DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or DUI (Driving Under the Influence) they all mean the same thing.
Massachusetts uses the terms “Operating Under the Influence” OUI.
Operating Under the Influence - Alcohol involves the operation of a motor vehicle on a public way while under the influence of alcohol. In some cases, the driver submits to a chemical breath test (breathalyzer or BT). In other cases, the driver does not. In either case, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has to prove that the driver was under the influence while operating the vehicle.
Melanie's Law was enacted in 2008 and enhanced both the criminal and RMV penalties for OUI charges. Prior to 2008, a driver could refuse to submit to a breath test and not face harsh loss of license penalties. Now, an automatic 180-day loss of license is imposed if a driver refuses the breath test. And the period lengthens with each subsequent charge.
On the other hand, the law allows for a hardship or Cinderella license if a driver submits to a breath test – even if the driver's blood alcohol level is well above the legal limit of .08%.
Operating Under the Influence - Drugs involves the operation of a motor vehicle on a public way while under the influence of drugs, either illicit or prescription. Often times, an evaluation is completed by a so-called Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), a police officer who has had some training on the different classes of drugs and their impact on someone's coordination. Many courts in the Commonwealth are prohibiting these officers from testifying as experts, thereby making the Commonwealth's cases harder to prove. The criminal and RMV consequences are essentially the same, but the charges are more difficult to prove.
OUI with Serious Bodily Injury complicates an OUI case. The penalties are more severe and the standard OUI dispositions are often not available.
OUI - Junior Operators face stricter penalties, and their blood alcohol level need only be .02% or above to be charged. For example, if a junior operator refuses the breath test, he or she will automatically lose their license for three years. They may also have to retake their driver education class and/or a driver safety class.
OUI – Related Laws
If you are charged and convicted of an OUI while a child under the age of fourteen is in the car, there is an additional one-year loss of license penalty. A second offense will land you in jail for a mandatory six months, and you will lose your license for three years.
If you operate a vehicle during the suspension period imposed because of an OUI charge, you face a mandatory minimum jail sentence.
If you commit a subsequent OUI-related offense during the license suspension period or while your license is revoked, you face a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year.
Your vehicle may be forfeited for any OUI charge subsequent to a third offense.
Melanie's Law brought with it new charges and new penalties for the following
- Knowingly hiring an unlicensed person to operate a motor vehicle – license suspension for one year
- Knowingly providing a motor vehicle to an unlicensed person – license suspension for one year
- Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle – mandatory minimum of five years in jail
- Vehicular Homicide, first offense – license suspended for fifteen years
Additionally, you will permanently lose your license if convicted of:
- Vehicular homicide involving an OUI
- Felony vehicular homicide after a prior OUI, OUI with serious injury, or vehicular homicide
Any charge involving OUI is not to be taken lightly. Some offenses carry a possible jail sentence while others carry a mandatory jail sentence. All carry RMV consequences. If you have been charged with any of these offenses, you should immediately consult with an experienced attorney to help you navigate through the criminal justice system. The outcome of your case will depend on many factors including, but not limited to, your previous criminal history, whether you are currently on probation, the amount of injury or damages to the complaining witness, etc. An experienced attorney familiar with Melanie's Law, DREs, and the RMV penalties will be able to advocate for the suppression of testimony and evidence and the best possible resolution.
Kathleen Black Reynolds, Esq. is an experienced attorney who is familiar with the criminal justice system and all the significant players.
Call or email her for a complimentary consultation - 781.935.7100