If you received an out of state prior DUI conviction and are now facing a DUI charge in Massachusetts, the old conviction counts as a prior offense under Massachusetts law. Your Massachusetts DUI charge will then be charged as a second offense. Second offense DUI convictions carry the following penalties in Massachusetts:
- A fine between $600-$10,000
- Driver’s license suspension for 2 years
- A jail sentence of up to 2.5 years
It is possible that your out of state prior DUI will not be a part of your proceedings, however. This is dependent upon a number of circumstances.
First and foremost, consult a Massachusetts DUI attorney before saying anything about prior offenses to police or the courts. It is relatively unlikely that a police officer would ask you about prior offenses during a traffic stop, but it is in your best interest not to say anything about any previous convictions. You should consult an attorney immediately after receiving charges.
In most circumstances, it is not your responsibility to provide information about an out of state prior DUI to the courts. They have their own channels for determining if you were previously convicted of a DUI. In the criminal justice system, you are assumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. That burden of proof is placed on the prosecutor.
When Would My Out of State Prior DUI Not Count?
If you are charged with a DUI, you will have to go to court. The district attorney will investigate whether or not you have any previous DUI convictions. If the district attorney prosecuting your Massachusetts case doesn’t find evidence of a DUI, they may prosecute your case as a first offense. This is rare but may occur if they fail to search for out of state DUI convictions or if records on the matter are deficient.
If you are offered a plea bargain for a first offense DUI and you accept, they cannot rescind it. Even if they later determine that they should have charged you a second offense, your first offense conviction will still stand.
In most cases, the police will conduct a thorough enough investigation and will discover any out of state prior convictions. However, their investigation will be all the more thorough if you inform police or the courts that you have a prior DUI conviction in another state. You should always take advantage of your Fifth Amendment right to stay silent until you have an attorney present to represent you.
What Does it Mean to Have Two First Offense DUI Convictions?
If you have two “first offense” DUI convictions in separate states and are arrested for another DUI, it will be charged as a third offense. A third offense DUI conviction has the following penalties in Massachusetts:
- A fine between $1,000-$15,000
- Driver’s license suspension for 8 years
- A minimum mandatory jail sentence of 6 months, with 150 days to be served incarcerated.
- Up to 5 years in state prison
What Does an Out of State Prior DUI Mean for My MA License?
Massachusetts applies its own licensing rules to out of state offenses. Any out of state DUI arrest can result in the suspension of your Massachusetts driver’s license. States are required to notify the National Driver Register of any offenses that may have resulted in the revocation or suspension of an individual’s license, such as a DUI. You must be reinstated in that state before you can resolve your Massachusetts suspension or revocation.
If you are facing a DUI in Massachusetts with an out of state prior DUI, or if you are attempting to be reinstated after an out of state DUI conviction, consult with an experienced DUI attorney immediately.