According to Massachusetts law, a second offense OUI is punishable by up to 2.5 years of jail time. But most people who get a second OUI do not go to jail. Instead, they qualify for an alternative disposition which may include probation or a suspended jail sentence.
If you’ve been charged with your second OUI in Massachusetts, you are rightly concerned about how it could affect your life. Losing your license could impact your ability to get to work, earn a living, and pay your bills. You may also be worried about how this charge could affect your relationships and your sense of well-being.
But most of all, you are probably worried about the possibility of going to jail.
Under Massachusetts law, every OUI offense is technically punishable by some amount of jail time. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be possible for you to serve a jail sentence. However, it’s important to note that most people who get charged with a first or second OUI do not serve jail time.
Instead, most people qualify for an alternative disposition, which includes a period of probation or a suspended jail sentence and other requirements.
Possible Penalties for a Second OUI Offense
In Massachusetts, the maximum possible penalties for a second offense include:
- A fine of $600 to $10,000
- Imprisonment of 60 days to 2.5 years
- 2-year loss of driver’s license
If you refused a breathalyzer, you will face an administrative license suspension of:
- 3 years
If you took a breathalyzer and failed, you will face a subsequent license suspension of:
- 30 days if you are above the age of 21 and produced a reading of 0.08 or greater
- 30 days, plus 180 days (210 days total) if you are under the age of 21 and produced a reading of 0.02 or greater
Any license loss associated with a conviction will run consecutively to any breath test refusal suspension. For example, if you refused a breath test and are convicted, you will lose your license for at least 5 years.
Qualifying for Alternative Disposition
If this is your second OUI charge, you may already be familiar with the Alternative Disposition. Under Massachusetts Gen. Laws ch. 90 §24(1)(a)(4) and Massachusetts Gen. Laws ch. 90 §24D, you may qualify for an alternative to the harsh penalties of a second OUI conviction.
If you plead Guilty or are found Guilty after trial, you will be ordered to complete the following under an Alternative Disposition:
- Up to 2 years of probation
- Mandatory attendance at a 14-day inpatient residential alcohol treatment program
- Participation in outpatient aftercare
If your previous offense occurred 10 years prior to your second offense, you will be ordered to complete the following under an alternative disposition:
- Up to 2 years of probation
- Completion of a driver alcohol education program (24D First Offender Program)
Most judges favor alternative disposition. It is the most likely outcome of second offense OUI. However, you cannot qualify for this disposition if your OUI resulted in serious personal injury or the death of another. You may also serve jail time if you are facing other serious charges in addition to your OUI.
Avoid Going to Jail
If you’ve been charged with a second OUI, you should contact an experienced OUI attorney immediately.
You are in a very different situation than someone charged with a first offense. The penalties are more severe, and the long-term loss of your driver’s license could be crippling. In the worst-case scenario, you could face jail time that will take you away from your family and could jeopardize your employment.
But don’t lose hope. An experienced Massachusetts OUI attorney will review the details of your case and walk you through each step of the legal process. If you qualify for an alternative disposition, your attorney will help you get it.
An attorney can determine whether there are circumstances around your arrest that were unlawful. They will defend your rights in court, attempt to suppress incriminating evidence at trial, cast doubt on the validity of chemical tests, and attempt to reduce your charges.
If you have a viable defense, your attorney will argue that your case should be dismissed or that you should be found NOT GUILTY.