Although a first offense OUI in Massachusetts is only classified as a misdemeanor, OUI penalties in the Commonwealth are among the strictest in the entire United States. If you’re a first-time offender who’s been charged with an OUI in Massachusetts, these are the penalties you could face if convicted.
Anyone convicted of an OUI in Massachusetts may be required to pay a fine. For a first-time offender, the fine could be of a sum between $500 and $5,000, with the judge deciding the precise amount due.
You’ll have more expenses than just fines to worry about if you’re convicted of an OUI. Other monetary penalties include a $250 assessment fee and a $50 OUI victim fund fee. You may incur even further charges still, although not through the state, such as higher car insurance rates, legal fees, and transportation costs.
While most individuals convicted of a first offense OUI do not get sentenced to jail time, don’t assume you aren’t at risk of being incarcerated if you’re convicted. Massachusetts has some of the harshest imprisonment sentencing for OUIs in the country. First-time offenders can face up to 2.5 years behind bars.
When you’re convicted of an OUI, the Registrar of Motor Vehicles is notified. They will suspend your license for a one-year period. This means you will not be legally permitted to drive until your license has been reinstated following the conclusion of the suspension period.
This is a penalty that not everyone faces and which is left to the discretion of the presiding judge. However, it’s possible for first-time OUI offenders to be required to complete alcohol or drug education courses, depending on the specifics of the case.
Ignition Interlock Devices
Certain first-time OUI offenders, such as those seeking a hardship license, can be required to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in all vehicles that they own, lease, or regularly operate. An IID is a small breathalyzer device that is connected to a vehicle’s ignition. Drivers must pass the breath test in order to start their vehicle and will be periodically re-tested while driving.
If your OUI charge occurred under a certain set of circumstances, such as if you had a minor child under age fourteen in the vehicle or if you crashed and caused someone significant bodily harm, you could face additional sets of charges that carry their own additional penalties.
If you’ve been charged with an OUI, don’t wait to seek legal help. Having a qualified and experienced OUI attorney to represent you can help you avoid a conviction or, if convicted, assure lighter penalties. Attorney Joseph Higgins is one of the top OUI lawyers in Massachusetts and focuses specifically on practicing OUI and DUI defense. Contact him today for your free case evaluation.