If you are among those in Massachusetts who believe it is no big deal to get behind the wheel of a car after having a few drinks, you likely do not fully understand the potential consequences of such as decision. In addition to the danger you present to yourself and others by driving while potentially impaired, you place your future in jeopardy by risking the severe penalties resulting from a conviction.
As strict as Massachusetts OUI laws are, they are likely to get even tougher after the recent legalization of marijuana for recreational use and the increasing concern that drivers are mixing drugs with alcohol. Finding an alternate method of getting where you need to go is the best way to avoid the trouble that can come with an OUI arrest. However, you may find that understanding the laws related to driving under the influence may help you make better choices.
Your blood alcohol concentration
Like all states, Massachusetts has an implied consent law, which means you must submit to a chemical test of your blood alcohol concentration if police arrest you under suspicion of drunk driving. This may mean a breath test, but it can also mean a blood draw. If you refuse, police must obtain a warrant to take your blood, but the consequences for you mean an automatic suspension of your license and potential criminal charges. You should consult an attorney to determine the best course of action in this situation.
A BAC of .08 is the legal limit, and if your chemical test shows your BAC at this level or higher, police need no other evidence to present to a court to prove you were impaired while driving. If your BAC is considerably higher, .20 or more, you may face enhanced penalties for a conviction.
A conviction for a first offense OUI no longer gets a slap on the wrist. You may face up to two years in jail, fines and mandatory alcohol treatment and counseling at your expense. For subsequent convictions, the penalties increase, and you will also have the added cost and inconvenience of an ignition interlock in your vehicle.
For all OUI convictions, you will lose your driving privileges, perhaps up to a year for a first offense. Imagine going an entire year without being able to drive to work, to the store or to fulfill other obligations. It could get frustrating and expensive to depend on ridesharing, public transportation or taxis for that amount of time.
The better alternative is to call a cab when you have had too much to drink. However, if you find yourself facing charges for OUI, you would be wise to seek legal counsel for skillful representation to assist you in pursuing the best possible outcome for your situation.