OUI Charges in Massachusetts

We Can Help Answer Your OUI Questions

Drunk Driving Laws Can Be Complicated

If you have been arrested for an OUI in Massachusetts, you may not be certain about what to do next or where you stand.  We can help you understand the charges and deal with your situation, starting with the elements of a Massachusetts OUI charge.

Whether it is a First Offense OUI, a Second Offense OUI or a Third and Subsqquent OUI, every case involves the question: What does the prosecution have to prove to convict me?

What are the Elements of an OUI Charge in Massachusetts?

Putting aside the proof of prior offenses, the prosecution must prove the same 3 "elements" of an OUI charge "beyond a reasonable doubt":

First: That you operated a motor vehicle;

Second: That you did so: on a public way or in a place that is acessible to the public; and

Third (OUI Alcohol): That while operating the vehicle, you were under the influence of intoxicating liquor or with a BAC of .08 or greater.

Third (OUI Drugs): That while operating the vehicle, you were under the influence of a “drug”, as defined in G.L. c. 94C, § 1.

Note that the second "element" can be proven in two ways:

  • with scientific evidence showing your blood alcohol level was 0.08% or higher (in court, this is called a "pre se" violation); or
  • with observations of intoxication, such as slurred speech, unsafe driving, odor of alcohol, or even your own admissions.

Massachusetts has a very broad definition of when a person “operates” a motor vehicle.  It is not limited to actually driving down a road, but also includes any intentional use of some mechanical or electrical part of the vehicle (yes! sitting in a parked car with the engine off, but the A/C or heat on still counts as operation!).

Public Way” refers to the typical road maintained by a State or a municipality, while a “place to which the public has a right of access” is limited to places like a parking lot.

A person is “under the influence of alcohol (or drugs)” if he or has consumed enough alcohol (or drugs) to reduce their ability to drive safely, by decreasing alertness, judgment and ability to respond promptly.

DUI FAQ

We Hope This Helps!

Melanie’s Law created a new crime of OUI With a Child 14 Years of Age or Younger in the Vehicle. This means that a driver can be charged with both: 1) OUI and 2) Child Endangerment While OUI:

PENALTIES FOR CONVICTION

»1st Offense: 90 days to 2 .5 years in the House of Corrections, $1,000-$5,000 fine; 1 year loss of license

»2nd Offense: 6 months to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections and a fine of $5000 – $10,000, or 3 to 5 years in State Prison; 3 year loss of license

Melanie’s Law established a new offense of OUI After Suspension for OUI.

This means that a driver, who was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while his/her license was already suspended for OUI, can be charged with both: 1) OUI and 2) OUI with a Suspended License.

This additional offense carries a minimum mandatory of 60 days in jail (up to 2 .5 years) and 1 year loss of license.

Melanie’s Law established a new offense of OUI After Suspension for OUI.

This means that a driver, who was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while his/her license was already suspended for OUI, can be charged with both: 1) OUI and 2) OUI with a Suspended License.

This additional offense carries a minimum mandatory of 60 days in jail (up to 2 .5 years) and 1 year loss of license.

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