Massachusetts DUIs and DWIs
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Drivers who violate DUI laws in Massachusetts generally incur severe fines and penalties as the state recognizes the detrimental effects of intoxicants on safe driving. Note that motorists convicted of a DUI violation in MA are subject to penalties issued by both the state Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and the court that processed their case. Since DUI offenses are treated as misdemeanors and felonies, drivers who violate the drunk driving laws in MA will be charged with operating under the influence (OUI) and they may potentially be sentenced to prison. Learn more about the consequences that generally arise if you drink and drive in Massachusetts by reading the following sections.
Massachusetts DUI Citations and Convictions
Drivers will receive a DUI ticket in Massachusetts if they are stopped by a police officer on suspicion of having committed an OUI offense within the state. Under the implied consent law, police officials will arrest you for either failing or refusing to take the breath or blood alcohol test. Since DUI violations in MA are treated as criminal offenses, you may potentially be penalized with steep fines, jail sentences and court-ordered license suspensions. The court will also report the DUI conviction on your driving record.
Massachusetts DUI Violations and Penalties
Drivers charged with a DUI in MA and later convicted of the offense are typically subjected to criminal penalties issued by the state court system. These sanctions vary based on factors such as the motorist’s age and the number of similar offenses on his or her record. The severity of the penalties will also depend on whether or not certain aggravating factors were in effect at the time the offense was committed. For example, if you commit a DUI violation while driving with a suspended license or you endanger the life of a child younger than 15 years of age, you will be subjected to harsher consequences.
First DUI Offense
For first DUI convictions in Massachusetts, the state courts administer fines of $500 to $5,000 and a maximum jail sentences of 28 months. Drivers are also subjected to a driver’s license suspension of one year. In addition to these penalties, first-time offenders will face an administrative license suspension of 30 days. State courts may offer first-time DUI offenders the option to enroll in a specialized DUI traffic school course to reduce the duration of their suspension period.
Second DUI Offense
Second DUI violations in Massachusetts generally result in fines of up to $10,000, jail sentences of 30 days to 30 months and a two-year driving license suspension. Motorists who have two or more OUI conviction on their driving transcript will also be required to participate in the state ignition interlock device (IID) program as part of their license reinstatement requirements. The state RMV will penalize you with a license suspension of 10 years at minimum if you violate the state IID law.
Third and Subsequent DUI Offenses
Third and subsequent DUI offenses in Massachusetts are treated as felonies. Therefore, the consequences that may arise in such situations are much harsher than the penalties for misdemeanors. Depending on whether you have three or more DUI convictions on your driver’s record, the state courts may sanction a fine of up to $50,000 and an imprisonment sentence of up to five years. Note that, for fifth and subsequent offenses, you will be punished with a lifetime license suspension.
Massachusetts DUI Attorneys
Drivers charged with a DUI usually hire a DUI lawyer in Massachusetts to minimize the potential punishments issued by the state RMV and the presiding court in such circumstances. Drunk driving attorneys assist motorists before, during and after their court proceedings, and they also file the necessary paperwork on their behalf. In addition, if you are unfamiliar with the laws that you have violated, your attorney can provide you with a detailed explanation of both the regulated laws and the resulting sanctions. Before hiring a DUI lawyer, however, conduct thorough research to find the best attorney for your case.
Massachusetts Open Container Laws
As part of the drunk driving laws in Massachusetts, drivers are also prohibited from consuming alcohol or having an open alcoholic beverage inside their vehicles when driving. Convictions of this type of violation generally lead to fines of up to $500. Motorists younger than 21 years of age will be penalized with a suspended driving license as well. Note that young drivers are also prohibited from transporting alcohol without adult supervision, regardless of whether or not the container has been opened.
Reinstating a Suspended Drivers License in Massachusetts
Reinstating a suspended license in Massachusetts is a process that can be completed after meeting the restoration requirements set forth by the state RMV and the court that processed the DUI case. Restoring a credential is a process that can only be finalized with a Hearings Officer through specific RMV locations within the state.
Drivers who commit a DUI violation in MA can successfully restore their driving privileges by completing the following steps:
- Wait out the period of suspension.
- Fulfill the court conditions resulting from their DWI conviction.
- Enroll in an alcohol and/or drug counseling and education program (if required).
- Schedule a meeting with an RMV hearings officer.
- Reapply for a new driver’s license (if required).
- Pay the MA cost of DUI restoration, which varies based on the number of similar convictions on record.
Massachusetts Alcohol Awareness Classes
Participating in DUI classes in Massachusetts is often a requirement that must be fulfilled prior to reinstating a suspended license within the state. Note that the state accepts DUI course certificates only from traffic school programs that are approved by the Massachusetts RMV. Drivers younger than 21 years of age who commit a DUI violation will be required to participate in the RMV Youth Alcohol Program (YAP). Motorists may also be granted the option to voluntarily participate in DUI classes in MA for purposes of receiving a reduced driving license suspension.
Massachusetts Laws That Pertain to DUIs
Drivers are in violation of Massachusetts impaired driving laws if they operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit. Motorists can be charged with a DUI for different amounts of BAC, depending on their age or the type of license they have. Adult drivers, for example, are at risk for a ticket if they operate a vehicle with a BAC level of .08 or higher. Motorists younger than 21 years of age, however, are can receive a DUI ticket even for driving with a BAC level as low as .02 percent. Additionally, a commercial drivers BAC level must be loser than .04.
Hardship License in Massachusetts
Motorists with a suspended license may be able to obtain a hardship license through the state RMV. A hardship license will grant motorists limited driving privileges during their period of suspension. If you are completing a license suspension caused by a DUI conviction in MA, you can request a hardship credential during your hearing with the RMV administrative officer. However, prior to requesting this restricted license, ensure you meet the following requirements:
- You did not operate your motor vehicle after the commencement of your license suspension.
- You have committed a type of DUI offense that renders you eligible for a hardship license.
- You have collected the necessary documentation, such as proofs of hardship that confirm your need for a restricted license.
- You have installed an ignition interlock device (if required).
Note: Based on the type of MA DUI offense that was committed, the requirements for a hardship license may vary. Therefore, applicants are encouraged to contact a local RMV location to learn whether or not they can request a restricted credential.