Massachusetts dictates that anyone aged 21 and older who is driving on a state road with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater is guilty of operating under the influence (OUI). The state can also place OUI penalties on any minor under the age of 21 with a BAC of .02 percent or greater and any commercial driver with a BAC of .04 percent or greater.
Like most states, Massachusetts has an implied consent law that binds drivers to consent to a chemical blood, breath or urine test for drugs and alcohol. Those who refuse to consent to testing are subjected to fines and automatic suspensions of their driver’s licenses. First time offenses and refusals are penalized by a 180-day license suspension. Second offenses and refusal are subjected to a three-year suspension and 30 days of prison time. Third offenses and refusal are subjected to a five-year license suspension and 150 days of prison time. A fourth offense and refusal results in a lifetime suspension of the driver’s license.
Massachusetts has a lifetime “look back period” for which prior offenses are taken into consideration when imposing penalties. While there is no statutory provision for plea bargain agreements in Massachusetts, it is possible to have an OUI reduced to “wet reckless,” or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol.
Massachusetts OUI Penalties for First Conviction
A first OUI conviction is punishable by up to 30 months in prison, a driver’s license suspension for one year and a fine between $500 and $5,000. A $250 assessment and a $50 contribution to the DUI Victim Trust Fund are also imposed. In addition, convicted drivers are required to attend a court assigned treatment program.
Massachusetts Penalties for Second Conviction
A second OUI conviction is punishable by a two-year license suspension, a fine of between $600 and $10,000 and a prison sentence of between 30 days and 30 months. In addition, an ignition interlock device is required and installed at the driver’s expense. If the suspension is shown to create a hardship, convicted drivers become eligible for a hardship license after one year.
OUI Penalties for Third Conviction
A third OUI conviction is punishable by an eight-year license suspension, a fine of between $1,00 and $15,000 and a prison sentience of between 150 days and 2 1/2 years. An ignition interlock device is required, and convicted drivers become eligible for a hardship license after 2 years.
Massachusetts OUI Penalties for Fourth Conviction
A fourth OUI conviction is punishable by a 10-year license suspension, a fine of between $1,500 and $25,000 and a prison sentience of between one and three years. In addition, an ignition interlock device is required after the prison term is served, and convicted drivers become eligible for a hardship license after five years.
OUI Penalties for Fifth Conviction
A fifth OUI conviction is punishable by a permanent (lifetime) license suspension, a fine of between $2,000 and $50,000 and a prison sentence of between two and five years.
If a child under the age of 14 is a passenger during an OUI offense, the driver is guilty of child endangerment. A first conviction of child endangerment is punishable by between 90 days and 2 1/2 years in prison, a fine of between $1,000 and $5,000 and a license suspension of one year.