An OUI (operating under the influence) conviction is considered a first offense in Massachusetts if the driver has no prior OUI convictions within the driver’s lifetime. Offenders typically face fines, license suspension or revocation, and possible jail time. This article discusses the specific penalties you’ll face if convicted of a first OUI in Massachusetts.
The maximum jail sentence for a first offense OUI is two and a half years. The convicted person will also be required to pay a fine of $500 to $5,000 along with a $250 assessment fee and a $50 OUI victim fund fee. And the costs of a first OUI are even higher if you count all the expenses such as attorney fees and insurance rate increases.
Minor passengers. An OUI offender who was transporting a passenger under the age of 14 can be charged with child endangerment. A conviction carries a fine of $1,000 to $5,000, 90 days to two and a half years in jail, and a one-year license suspension.
Treatment. If the offender had drugs or inhalants in his or her system, the judge can order drug education classes or treatment.
The Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) receives notification of all OUI convictions. For a first OUI conviction, the RMV will revoke the driver’s license for one year.
Hardship license. After three months of license revocation, a driver can apply for the “12-hour hardship license.” This license permits the holder to drive during a set 12-hour period each day and only with an ignition interlock device (IID). After six months of license revocation, the driver can apply for the work/school hardship license that permits driving at any time to work or school with the use of an IID.
BAC test refusals. Drivers who refuse BAC testing in violation of the state’s implied consent law face a 180-day suspension. This suspension is in addition to the one-year revocation for a conviction and motorists who refused testing aren’t eligible for a hardship license.
If the judge finds that treatment would be beneficial, and the driver consents, the judge can dismiss the criminal charges through a probation program. The accused will still be required to pay any applicable fees that would normally apply to an OUI conviction, and the judge can order up to 30 hours of community service.
As conditions of probation, the judge will order the completion of a driver alcohol education course and possibly drug and alcohol treatment. The driver’s license will be suspended for 45 to 90 days. A hardship license is available during this time. Drivers with a BAC over .20% and drivers under 21 years old may be subject to additional license and treatment requirements.
After one year of probation, the judge will review the offender’s compliance and progress. If satisfied, the judge can terminate probation and dismiss the criminal charges. However, a first-offense OUI probation counts as a prior offense for purposes of determining whether future OUI violations are second or subsequent offenses.