What Do I Need to Know About a Second Drunk Driving Arrest in Massachusetts?
You can't believe you got arrested for a second OUI, we know. It was bad enough the first time around, however many years ago (or with a few of our clients, days!), but this time things are getting serious.
You may feel overwhelmed at the moment, but we can help you get the best possible result, whether that means a plea, a dismissal or a Not Guilty after a trial.
Our attorneys at Equitas Law have extensive experience defending and prosecuting second offense OUI charges and have appeared in every county of Massachusetts.
What direction your case takes is specific to your situation, but no matter what, we have probably been there with a client and can help.
It is possible that you have just been arrested and have an arraignment tomorrow (or the next day court is open). Maybe you've already been arraigned and need to know what the next steps are, or have an attorney that isn't aggressive, responsive or competent enough. If so, feel free to call or text.
Generally, the options available to someone charged with second offense OUI fall into the following categories:
- I Want to Take Responsibility and Move Forward (Second Offender Disposition)
- I'm Not Guilty and I Want to Fight My OUI Charge
- I Want to Fight My OUI Charge if Possible, but I'm Not Sure if it's Possible or Worth it
What Can I Expect If I Plead Guilty?
I Want to Move On (Second Offender Disposition)
Entering into a "plea bargain" on a second offense OUI is difficult to accept, but is often the necessary choice.
OUI Second is a misdemeanor offense and it is very likely that we can negotiate an agreement with the prosecution that will avoid a jail sentence, although the license suspension is lengthy and requires an Ignition Interlock Device once reinstated.
This alternative disposition, as it is called, may be appropriate when there is a good stop and/or arrest (from a constitutional perspective) with solid evidence of all the elements of the offense (what the prosecution has to prove).
For example, if someone was seen by the police driving "erratically" and ultimately failed the breathalyzer by blowing at or above over the legal limit of .08 BAC, the only reasonable option may be to negotiate the best plea possible.
In other words, whether you're a victim of circumstance or made a mistake, it may be time to deal with it and move forward.
So, what can you expect if you decide to enter into a the second offender alternative disposition on a second offense DUI? Typically, it involves the following:
- You would admit that you were driving while under the influence of alcohol for the second time and a guilty finding would enter;
- You are placed on probation for a period of two years.
- You will be be required to enter into a 14-day inpatient rehabilitation program at your own expense.
- You will receive a 2-year loss of license and be eligible for a "hardship" license" after one year, which will allow you to drive 12-hours a day for the purposed of school or education (not including any suspension for refusal of the breathalyzer).
- When you do regain your license, you will be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car (or any car you drive) for 2 years.
Of course, each case is unique and there may be factors that would make the alternative disposition more difficult to get on a second offense OUI. Please contact us for an opinion specific to your case.
Second Offense DUI FAQ
An ignition interlock device or breath alcohol ignition interlock device (IID) is basically a breathalyzer for an person's vehicle. It requires the driver to blow into a mouthpiece on the device before starting the vehicle and prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit.
License Suspension for Refusal of Breathalyzer:
In addition to the suspension for a plea or guilty finding:
»3-year license suspension; no hardship eligibility
»This suspension can be lifted upon acquittal (when a jury or judge finds you Not Guilty)
Penalties for Failure of Breathalyzer:
»Immediate loss of license for 30 days, lifted upon trial or plea (meaning if you enter into the alternative disposition, this suspension goes away)
»Automobile impounded for 12 hours
»BAC of .08 or higher “per se” violation of statute (meaning your defenses are much more limited)
The maximum sentence for a second offense OUI is rarely in play, but for your information:
»Sentencing: 30 days up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections
»License suspension: 2 years; work and education hardship eligibility after 1 year; general hardship after 18 months. Hardship license requires an ignition interlock device
»Fines/fees: $800-$10,200 plus $65/month probation fee
Again, you probably don't need to worry about the maximum penalties for an OUI second offense!
If you're under 21 and caught driving under the influence for the second time, prepare yourself for some very serious consequences.
Enhanced Penalties for Under Age 21:
Refusal to Take Breathalyzer:
»3 year loss of license
»Separate 180 day loss of license under §24P, which may be avoided upon completion of juvenile alcohol program
Failure of Breathalyzer:
»Immediate loss of license for 30 days, lifted upon trial or plea
»If over a .02 BAC, a separate 180 day loss of license under §24P
If you're convicted of a second offense OUI in Massachusetts, or refuse a breathalyzer test after having a prior OUI conviction, you will likely face a lifetime suspension of your CDL license.
Since these penalties are based upon federal law, any out of state OUI conviction and/or refusal will carry the same consequences to your CDL license as if the offense happened in Massachusetts.