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Being charged with OUI is often a scary and humiliating experience, one in which you may have little understanding of the law, the criminal process, or the potential penalties. Because of this and the many technical factors that must be explored in your arrest for a comprehensive defense, it is vital that you seek the assistance of a competent and trusted criminal defense lawyer. While you may believe that you can never overcome an OUI charge, that is far from true. Many defenses can come into play that can challenge the state’s case against you and invalidate it.
At the law firm of Attorney Andrew H. P. Norton, our Bridgewater, MA OUI/DUI lawyer has a thorough understanding of the laws regarding this, what can and should be investigated in your arrest, and how to uncover evidence that can work in your favor. With more than three decades of experience defending drivers throughout the area, Mr. Norton has extensive experience and insight that can impact the outcome of your case.
OUI in Massachusetts
OUI (operating under the influence) is the official term for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Massachusetts. It is commonly referred to as DUI. Under Massachusetts law, you can be charged with this offense under the following scenarios:
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measured .08 percent or higher (the legal limit)
- You were driving while your abilities were impaired by alcohol, narcotics, depressants, or other substances regardless of your BAC level as witnessed and stated by law enforcement
A first conviction of OUI in Massachusetts carries the following penalties:
- Jail time that could be as long as 2 ½ years
- Fines ranging from $500 up to $5,000
- A license suspension of a year
- Five points added to your driving record
Collateral consequences include increased auto insurance rates and having a permanent criminal record that can result in the loss of your job or harm future job opportunities as well as other life opportunities, such as housing, professional license, and advanced education.
If you were driving with a passenger under the age of 14, you will also be charged with child endangerment which is punishable by 90 days up to two and a half years in jail, a fine of $1,000 up to $5,000, and a license suspension of one year.
If you were driving with drugs in your system, you may be ordered to undergo drug rehabilitation or education.
After three months, you may be eligible for a hardship license that allows you to drive during a 12-hour window every day providing you install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. These licenses allow you to drive to and from necessary places, such as work, school, or medical appointments.
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In some cases, you may be allowed to have your charges dismissed by serving a probation program. You will still be required to pay fines and fees and may also be ordered to complete community service. This type of probation generally requires you to complete an alcohol education program and/or a substance abuse treatment program. Probation of this type typically lasts for a year after which your case will be reviewed by a judge. If you have satisfactorily complied with the terms of the probation, the judge can end your probation and dismiss your charges.