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What is a DUI and an OUI in Massachusetts?

A DUI, also known as OUI, is a traffic offense that can bring severe penalties in Massachusetts. When a person’s ability to operate or control a vehicle is impaired or diminished due to alcohol consumption or other intoxicating substances, it is considered an OUI or DUI. Driving under the influence of intoxicating substances can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the presence of aggravating factors. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and the state courts manage and penalize DUIs and other traffic offenses in the state.

What is the Difference Between a DUI and an OUI in Massachusetts?

Alcohol-related traffic offenses in Massachusetts are commonly referred to as OUI (Operating a vehicle while under the influence). An OUI differs slightly from a DUI in that while a person can only commit a DUI offense while driving, a person does not need to be driving to be found guilty in Massachusetts. The term “operating” includes a wide range of circumstances that may be better explained by a traffic offense attorney. However, it is worth noting that the terms DUI and OUI are also often used interchangeably.

According to Mass. General Laws c.90 § 24, a person commits a DUI/OUI if such a person operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol percentage of.08% and if such a person commits the act in public.

What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in Massachusetts?

Persons charged with first-offense DUIs in Massachusetts can expect a fine of between $500-$5000, imprisonment for up to two and a half years, and probation for up to two years. As provided by Mass. General Laws c.90 § 24, the offender must also pay an assessment fee of $250 and an OUI victim fee of $50. Such persons may also expect a suspension of the person’s driver’s license by the RMV for between 30 days and one (1) year, depending on the offense’s severity.

The court may sentence the offender to an Alternative Disposition, which includes a probation program, alcohol treatment or driver education program, and payment of any fees resulting from the conviction.

How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in Massachusetts?

According to state laws, the maximum imprisonment term for a first DUI offense in Massachusetts is two-and-a-half years; however, a judge may sentence the offender to a probation program instead of prison terms. The offender must complete up to 30 hours of community service and an alcohol education program.

What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in Massachusetts?

Typical penalties for a Massachusetts DUI conviction include:

  • Fines: Persons convicted of DUI offenses in Massachusetts must pay between $500 to $15,000, depending on the severity of the offense and if the convicted person is a repeat offender. The convict may also pay additional state fines or fees.
  • Probation: The court may sentence a DUI offender to probation as part of an alternative disposition or plea negotiation program. DUI offenders may receive a probation sentence of up to two (2) years.
  • Driver’s education program: In addition to probation and other requirements, the courts may require a DUI offender to participate in an alcohol use program or driver education program as part of an alternative disposition program or criminal penalties.
  • License suspension: the RMV may suspend the offender’s license for anywhere between one (1) to eight (8) years. The driver may be eligible for a hardship license after meeting court requirements, such as completing an in-patient or drug use program.
  • Ignition interlock device: The court may also require the offender to install a grid-interlock device in the offender’s car at the offender’s expense.
  • Forfeiture: A repeat DUI offender may face forfeiture; the government may seize the person’s vehicle without offering compensation in exchange.
  • Imprisonment: imprisonment terms for DUI convictions in Massachusetts range from two-and-a-half years to five years.

How Long Does an OUI Stay on Your Record in Massachusetts?

An OUI offense in Massachusetts stays on the offender’s driving record and criminal history. The DUI will remain on the offender’s driving record for up to 10 years, after which the record holder may petition the court for removal of the offense. However, OUI offenses on a person’s criminal record are permanent, except the record is expunged or sealed.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How do I Find OUI Checkpoints in Massachusetts?

Sobriety or OUI checkpoints are legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, law enforcement must notify the public in advance of the checkpoint. Additionally, law enforcement may only install checkpoints in areas where accidents have previously occurred due to drunk driving. Law enforcement officers at checkpoints must follow standardized guidelines and ensure that selection is not selective. Law enforcement officers may stop random drivers or road users for a field test if they engage in suspicious activity such as swerving or uncoordinated driving. However, road users may decline to answer any questions or take any tests.

Which is Worse; an OUI or DWI?

In Massachusetts, an OUI encompasses all other methods or ways by which a person may control a vehicle apart from driving, and so it is often used in place of DUI or DWI. Massachusetts law defines an OUI as operating a car in a publicly accessible area while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, narcotics, depressants, or any other substances (Mass. General Laws c.90 § 24)..

What is an Aggravated OUI in Massachusetts?

There are aggravating factors that may result in enhanced penalties for OUI offenses. These aggravating factors consider the risk of injury or actual injury or bodily harm to other persons. Examples of such factors include:

  • Child endangerment: Mass. General Laws c.90 § 24V states that if a person operates a vehicle while under the influence with a child of 14 years old or younger in the vehicle, the person is guilty of child endangerment. This offense attracts an enhanced penalty of fines no less than $1,000 and no more than $5,000; imprisonment for no less than 90 days and no more than 2.5 years. Repeat child endangerment offenses attract fines of no less than $5,000 and imprisonment for no less than six months.
  • Bodily harm or death: According to Mass. General Laws c.90 § 24L, OUI homicide or OUI offenses that cause serious physical harm or injury to another person are punishable by imprisonment for no less than 2.5 years and no more than ten years. Fines of no more than $5,000 apply. Such persons also face license revocation for up to 15 years.
  • Repeat offenses: In Massachusetts, first and second OUI offenses are misdemeanors. However, Massachusetts’ lookback period is a lifetime; therefore, no matter how much time has passed since a first OUI offense, a subsequent offense is a repeat offense and will be penalized as such. Third and subsequent OUI offenses in Massachusetts are felony offenses, punishable by prison terms of up to five (5) years, fines of up to $50,000, and license suspensions for eight (8) years up to a lifetime.

What Happens When You Get an OUI in Massachusetts?

Persons charged with OUI offense must pay fines of between $500 and $5000, depending on the offender’s criminal history and the severity of the offense. Other penalties include jail term, probation, license revocation, and possible forfeiture; however, these penalties only apply to persons convicted of OUI offenses. In any OUI case, the prosecutor must prove that the accused person operated a vehicle in public while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating substances.

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