If you refused the breath test and are charged with a second offense, you will lose your license for 3 years. If you are later convicted, you’ll lose it for an additional 2 years (5 years total) and will not be eligible for a hardship license through the RMV until you have served 4 of your 5 years. You can, however, apply for a hardship license through the Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds after just 3 years.
If you’ve been charged with a second OUI in Massachusetts, you’re facing some harsh penalties. This includes the possibility of jail time. A second OUI also has harsh implications for your driver’s license.
If convicted of a second OUI charge you could face the following maximum penalties:
- A fine of $600 to $10,000
- Imprisonment of 60 days to 2.5 years
- A 2-year loss of your driver’s license
If you refused a breathalyzer test, your license will also be suspended for a period of 3 years. This suspension is cumulative. That means you’re facing the possible loss of your driver’s license for 5 years if you are convicted and you refused a breath test.
That’s a long time to go without driving. It could make it difficult for you to visit family and friends and get to work. It may also make it impossible for you to obtain some employment opportunities.
If you’re facing these charges, you should consult with an experienced OUI attorney as soon as possible. The stakes may be high, but you do have options.
Protecting Your Driver’s License
An attorney will examine the facts of your case and advise you on the best way to move forward. It may be in your best interest to fight the charges and attempt to obtain a “not guilty” verdict. But even if the prosecution has significant evidence against you, your attorney may be able to help you avoid jail time.
You have two options:
You fight the charges with an attorney at your side and put the government to their burden of proof. Your attorney will file motions against the admissibility of evidence. They will argue your case in court and attempt to obtain you a verdict of “not guilty.”
If you fight the case and win or the case is dismissed, the court may order that your driver’s license is reinstated. You’ll have to pay a reinstatement fee, but it’s well worth it to hold onto your driver’s license.
If you are a commercial driver, a second OUI conviction will result in a lifetime disqualification from obtaining a CDL. It may be in your best interest to fight the charges, so you can protect your CDL and maintain your way of life. However, if you refused a breath test and have a previous OUI conviction, you will be disqualified from obtaining a CDL for life, regardless of the outcome of your case.
With the help of an attorney, you admit that the prosecution has sufficient evidence against you and attempt to qualify for an alternative disposition. If granted, you’ll serve up to 2 years of probation with a possible suspended jail sentence. You’ll have to go to a 14-day inpatient treatment program and 26 weeks of aftercare.
Although this option gives you a chance to avoid jail time, you will still lose your driver’s license for 2 years. If you refused a breath test, the suspension handed down by the court begins after your 3-year breathalyzer refusal suspension has run – for a total of 5 years.
And lastly, you’ll need to install an ignition interlock device (car breathalyzer) for the duration of your hardship license (if granted) and for an additional 2 years after you obtain your regular license.
If your previous offense occurred over 10 years ago, you may qualify for a first offender’s disposition.
Obtaining a Hardship License
A hardship, or “Cinderella” license, is a driving license that has time restrictions. Hardship licenses are not guaranteed. You have a better chance of obtaining one with an attorney.
You cannot obtain a hardship license during a suspension for refusing a breathalyzer test.
Once your 2-year, court-ordered suspension begins, you’ll be eligible at the RMV for a hardship license 1 year into the suspension. If you refused a breath test, the suspension handed down by the court begins after your 3-year breathalyzer refusal suspension – you won’t be eligible at the RMV for a hardship license for 4 years. The Board of Appeal on Motor Vehicle Liability Policies and Bonds, however, has the authority to issue hardship licenses once the 3-year breathalyzer refusal suspension has been served.
The stakes are high but don’t lose hope. Have an attorney review your case as soon as possible so you can make an informed decision on what to do next. If you chose to fight your second OUI charge, your attorney will defend your rights and attempt to obtain you a verdict of NOT GUILTY.