If you’ve been pulled over and charged with OUI in Massachusetts, there are three things about Massachusetts OUI/DUI laws that you’ll wish you’d known sooner.
Let’s start with some definitions. OUI means “operating under the influence” of alcohol, while DUI means “driving under the influence” of alcohol. While many states refer to drunk driving arrests as DUIs, in Massachusetts, the term OUI is used for all such charges.
Things you should know:
1. The penalties for OUIs in Massachusetts are some of the most severe in the nation. You could receive a fine of $500-$5,000, jail time of up to 2 1/2 years, and have your license suspended. The penalties go up sharply for repeat offenses. For a second OUI, at least 30 days in jail is mandated, the fine could be $600-$10,000, and you could lose your license for two years.
2. Massachusetts has a Look-Back Law. This means that the court considers all your arrests for OUIs/DUIs during sentencing. If you were convicted of an OUI at the age of 18 and then are arrested again at the age of 68, the fact that you’ve driven without an OUI for 50 years doesn’t mean anything to the court: you must be charged as a repeat offender. Also, the court must include DUI/OUI convictions in other states as part of the Look-Back Law.
3. The state of Massachusetts passed “Melanie’s Law” a decade ago to stiffen OUI penalties. The law, named for a 13-year-old girl who was killed by a repeat offender, mandates the installation of an ignition interlock device in your car if you are convicted of a second or higher offense. The device must remain in your car for two years after reinstatement of your license.
Given the severity of the penalties and the complications of Massachusetts law, it is strongly advised that you have legal representation for an OUI. Please contact us today if you are facing an OUI.