Understanding Massachusetts’ OUI laws

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2022 | DUI/OUI |

Getting arrested and charged with OUI in Massachusetts is a scary ordeal. Authorities in the state take driving under the influence seriously, and a person can face serious legal consequences upon conviction. The following describes the process of charging someone with OUI as well as some of the consequences one can face. 

Being charged with OUI 

Many people are familiar with DUI and DWI, but Massachusetts uses the term OUI, or operating under the influence, for charges related to a person driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One can be charged with OUI if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher or if they exhibit clear signs of being under the influence of drugs (legal or not) or alcohol. For commercial drivers, the BAC level drops to .04 or higher. 

Consequences upon conviction 

If a person is convicted of OUI, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend the person’s driver’s license for one year for first-time offenders, and the length of time increases with the number of convictions. Furthermore, refusing to take a chemical test to determine BAC can result in a license suspension of 180 days, with much harsher penalties for those under 21 years of age. Criminal penalties upon conviction vary and will depend on the nature of the offense and the accused person’s criminal history. Penalties can range from fines and license suspension up to considerable jail time. A person convicted of OUI may also have to install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle before being allowed to drive. 

How an attorney can help 

Being charged with OUI is serious, and a conviction can have far-reaching effects on a person’s life and future. Furthermore, penalties can be enhanced if the person had a child in their car or caused an accident resulting in property damage or injury. Anyone charged with OUI in Massachusetts should retain an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest for help.