Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offense in Massachusetts, known legally as Operating Under the Influence (OUI). As experienced criminal defense attorneys representing individuals charged with OUI in Massachusetts, our firm educates the public on the laws, penalties, and defensive tactics to protect their rights. Understanding these aspects can help individuals navigate the legal landscape more effectively and make informed decisions if they find themselves facing an OUI charge.

OUI Laws in Massachusetts
Massachusetts law prohibits operating a motor vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher for drivers over the age of 21, and 0.02% or higher for drivers under the age of 21. The legal framework for OUI is stringent, with serious consequences for those found guilty. Law enforcement officers actively patrol and enforce these laws to ensure public safety on the roads.

Penalties for First Offense OUI
A first offense OUI in Massachusetts carries significant penalties, which can have long-term implications. If convicted, you may face:

  • Fines: Between $500 and $5,000.
  • License Suspension: Up to one year.
  • Incarceration: Possible jail time of up to 2.5 years.
  • Alcohol Education Program: Mandatory completion of an alcohol education program, which includes a fee.

The severity of these penalties underscores the importance of taking any OUI charge seriously and seeking professional legal assistance.

Advisable Tactics if Pulled Over

If you are pulled over and suspected of OUI, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the steps you can take to protect yourself:

1.      Remain Calm and Polite: Always be courteous to the officer. Aggressive or uncooperative behavior can be used against you.
2.      Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent: You are not obligated to answer questions about where you have been or whether you have been drinking. Politely decline to answer without an attorney present.
3.      Field Sobriety Tests: You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests, which are subjective, often unreliable, and mostly used to provide evidence against you. However, refusal most likely will still result in arrest.
4.      Breathalyzer Test: In Massachusetts, refusing a breathalyzer test results in an automatic license suspension (180 days for the first offense). However, providing a high BAC reading can serve as strong evidence against you in court. Weigh this decision carefully. If you have had a drink, you may want to decline the breathalyzer test.
5.      Request an Attorney: If arrested, clearly state your desire to speak with an attorney. Do not discuss your case further or answer any questions until your attorney is present.

Safe Driving Tips
Prevention is always the best strategy. To avoid OUI charges and ensure your safety and that of others:

  • Use a Designated Driver: If you plan to drink, arrange for a sober friend to drive you home.
  • Ride-Sharing Services: Utilize services like Uber or Lyft when you are drinking.
  • Public Transportation: Consider using public transportation options, especially in urban areas.
  • Stay Informed: Be particularly vigilant around holidays when law enforcement is more active, and social drinking is common.

Speak With an Experienced OUI Defense Attorney
Driving under the influence is a serious matter with severe consequences in Massachusetts. Understanding the laws and penalties associated with OUI, knowing how to protect your rights if pulled over, and committing to safe driving practices can help you avoid the significant repercussions of an OUI charge. If you find yourself facing an OUI charge, call me for a consult at (508) 752-2727. I’m dedicated to providing you with a robust defense strategy to protect your rights and minimize the impact on your life.

Always prioritize safety on the road. If you are drinking, make arrangements to get home safely. If you or someone you know is facing an OUI charge, contact me for legal assistance. Let me help you navigate this challenging situation with the professionalism and dedication you deserve.