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What are the penalties for OUI?

With the passage of Melanie’s Law on October 28, 2005, the penalties for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol in Massachusetts were dramatically enhanced, especially for repeat offenders.   Under the “lifetime look-back” provisions of the law, the length of suspension resulting from a conviction is determined by the individual’s prior driving history and the exact nature of the charge.  Persons convicted of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol are subject to the following maximum penalties:

Breathalyzer Refusal Suspensions: Under the Implied Consent Law, refusing a breath test after being arrested for Operating Under the Influence will result in an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. This suspension is imposed by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and is separate and distinct from any court-imposed suspension that may result from a conviction. The length of that suspension will depend upon the number of prior drunk driving convictions as follows:

What the police will not tell you is that, in Massachusetts, your refusal to take a breath test cannot be used against you. More importantly, once you are found Not Guilty, the Court can Order that your license be reinstated immediately.

A person whose license has been suspended as a result of their refusal to take a breath test has fifteen (15) days to appeal that suspension through the Registry of Morot Vehicles.

Suspensions for Failing the Breathalyzer: After a person has been arrested on the charge of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol they will be offered a breath test to determine their Blood Alcohol Concentration (“BAC”). For individual’s age 21 and older, any breath test reading of .08 or above will result in an immediate loss of license. Those individuals will also face prosecution under the so-called “Per Se” theory of the drunk driving law.

For individuals under the age of 21, any breath test result of .o2 or greater will result in an immediate administrative suspension. For court purposes, however, the legal limit of .08 still applies.

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