When Can I Get My License Back After a Third DUI?

Understand Your OUI Rights.

You must wait 8 years to get your license back after a third DUI conviction. You also face a mandatory jail sentence. You become eligible for a hardship license 2 years into your 8-year suspension, but you may face a separate suspension period of 5 years if you refused a breath test.  If you refused the breath test, that suspension runs first and you will not be eligible for hardship consideration until it has been served in its entirety.


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If you’ve been arrested for a third DUI, you are in a very different situation than when you were arrested for your first and second. Massachusetts has some of the harshest DUI penalties in the country. First and Second Offense DUI are both misdemeanors, but Third Offense DUI is a felony offense that comes with the potential for the following penalties if you are convicted:

  • A fine of $1,000 to $15,000
  • Imprisonment of up to 2.5 years, with a minimum mandatory period of 150 days.
  • License loss of 8 years

You become eligible for a hardship license through the RMV 2 years into your 8-year license suspension. However, if you refused a breath test, you face a separate breath test-related license loss of 5 years.

This breath test-related suspension period is cumulative. You must serve out your 5-year breath test suspension period before your 8-year court-imposed suspension begins. You are not eligible for a hardship license during your breath test-related suspension.

Altogether, if you are convicted of Third Offense DUI and refused a breath test, you must wait:

  • 13 years before you can get your full 24-hour license back, and
  • 7 years before you are eligible for a hardship license at the RMV (although the Board of Appeal can grant you a hardship license once your 5-year breath test refusal suspension has been served.)

When you’re facing the possibility of jail time and waiting over a decade to get your license back, your family, career, and reputation are going to be at the forefront of your thinking. A third DUI conviction can have a serious impact on your life, so it’s important to have a Massachusetts DUI attorney review your case and discuss your defense with you.

Fighting Your Third DUI Charge

Pleading/admitting is always an option for your third DUI charge, but unlike First and Second Offense DUI/OUI, there is little incentive to do so.

You are not eligible for the alternative dispositions that may have been available during your first and second DUI cases. These dispositions typically involve probation and the completion of alcohol education courses or a period of treatment. Even if you fight your case and lose, you’ll be in a similar position than if you plead guilty.

In most situations, your best option is to fight your charges.

Massachusetts also has a “lifetime lookback” for DUI offenses. This means you will be charged with a third DUI regardless of how long it has been since your second DUI conviction.

It’s important for you to speak with an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. Your attorney will review the facts of your case and advise you on your best way to move forward. If you choose to fight your charges, your attorney will represent you in court.

To convict you of DUI, the prosecution must prove that you were (a) operating a motor vehicle, (b) under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and (c) operating that vehicle in a “public way.” If the prosecution cannot meet one of these elements, then you are entitled to a verdict of Not Guilty.

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Call DUI Attorney Joseph J Higgins for a free case evaluation today at 508-930-4273