Massachusetts OUI Laws and Penalties

What constitutes an OUI (operating under the influence) in Massachusetts and the consequences of a conviction.

In Massachusetts, a motorist can be convicted of an OUI (often called a “DUI”) for operating a motor vehicle in any public place while “under the influence” or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more.

A driver is considered “under the influence” if his or her ability to operate a vehicle has been diminished by the consumption of an intoxicating substance (such as marijuana, narcotics, intoxicating vapors, or other drugs) or alcohol.

Penalties for Massachusetts OUI Convictions

Massachusetts’s OUI laws set the parameters for the jail, fines, and license revocation that a judge can impose for an OUI conviction. Generally, these parameters depend on the number of prior OUI convictions on the driver’s record.

1st offense

2nd offense

3rd offense

Jail

Up to 2 ½ years

60 days to 2 ½ years (minimum 30 days actually served in jail)

180 days to 2 ½ years jail or 2 ½ to 5 years prison (minimum 150 days actually served in jail)

Fines

$500 to $5,000

$600 to $10,000

$1,000 to $15,000

License Revocation

1 year

2 years

8 years

Probation. For a first or second-offense OUI, the driver is generally eligible for probation. Probation is normally for a term of one year and the driver must complete an alcohol education course (and possibly treatment) and up to 30 days of community service. The driver’s license will also be suspended 45 to 90 days (210 days if the driver is under 21 years old).

However, if the prior OUI offense occurred within the last ten years, probation will be for a two-year period and require at least 14 days of inpatient treatment, followed by outpatient treatment. The driver’s license will be revoked for two years, but the driver will generally be eligible for a hardship license (which gives limited driving privileges) after completing in-patient.

Child passengers. The driver can also be convicted of child endangerment if the driver had a passenger under 14 years old while operating under the influence. This separate offense carries $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, 90 days to two and a half years in jail, and a one-year license suspension.

Implied Consent and Refusing a Blood or Breath Test in Massachusetts

Massachusetts law requires all drivers lawfully arrested for an OUI to consent to a chemical test of their breath or blood to determine the presence and amount of alcohol or drugs. This “implied consent” law imposes a license suspension on drivers who refuse testing:

  • 180-day suspension if no prior OUI convictions
  • three-year suspension if one prior OUI conviction
  • five-year suspension if two prior OUI convictions
  • lifetime suspension if three or more prior OUI convictions
  • ten-year suspension if prior OUI involved serious bodily injury, and
  • lifetime suspension if prior OUI involved a fatality.

A license suspension related to a test refusal will run back-to-back with any other OUI-related suspension and cannot be circumvented by a hardship license.

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