If you’ve been pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving in Massachusetts, it’s important that you are properly informed on the potential repercussions you could face, especially with respect to your driver’s license.Almost all OUI arrests involve a request by the police that the person in custody consent to a breath test. Massachusetts law imposes driver’s license consequences for both failing the breath test and refusing the breath test. While it seems counterintuitive, the license suspensions for refusing a breath test are actually longer than the suspension imposed for failing the breath test. In fact, for some repeat offenders, refusing to submit to a breath test can result in a lifetime license suspension.
The point is, if you’ve been arrested for DUI, then your license has likely been suspended for some duration of time. That duration will depend on your decision to take or refuse the breath test and whether this is your first DUI, second DUI, third DUI, or fourth DUI.
But how can you get your license back after being charged with a DUI? What’s the timeline look like? What kind of work do you have to do before you can get back on the road? These are questions that your DUI defense attorney can help you work through, but if you’re looking for a place to start, then keep reading.
License Reinstatement While Your Case in Pending
No matter what the situation is around your license suspension, the law in Massachusetts allows you to request a hearing with the RMV to try and petition for your driving rights to be restored. However, it’s important that you understand that this is a time-sensitive situation, as the hearing with the RMV must be requested within a relatively short period of time after your arrest.
It’s also possible for you to reinstate your license while your case is still pending in court. If the administrative suspension expires, the Registry of Motor Vehicles will simply require that you pay a reinstatement fee in order to get your license back.
License Reinstatement After Your Trial
If your trial ends in a “not guilty” verdict and your license remains suspended as a result of your refusal to take a breath test, your lawyer can file a motion to have your license reinstated. In fact, Massachusetts law presumes that you will get your license back following a “not guilty” unless the government can establish that you have other open alcohol-related offenses or that restoration of your license would endanger the rest of the motoring public.
If your trial ends in a “guilty” verdict, then your license will be suspended even if you had it restored while your case was pending. The actual length of this suspension will depend on the particulars of your case and your prior OUI/DUI history, but here are some of the most common license suspension scenarios resulting from OUI convictions:
If you have no prior offenses: 45-day suspension or up to a year. Usually 45 days.
If you have one prior offense: 2-year suspension (unless your prior offense occurred more than 10 years ago)
If you have two prior offenses: 8-year suspension
If you have three prior offenses: 10-year suspension
If you have four prior offenses: Lifetime suspension
However, if not being able to drive will severely affect your ability to go to work, school, or important medical appointments, then you and your DUI attorney can try to apply for a hardship license, which will allow you to drive to-and-from specific places within certain hours of the day. When applying for a hardship license as a repeat offender, however, you’ll have to install an interlock device in your vehicle.
No matter what the circumstances of your DUI charge or conviction, you’re going to want an experienced DUI defense attorney on your side. With their expertise, you can ensure that you’re equipped with all of the knowledge and guidance you need to handle this stressful situation with care, precision, and timeliness.