What is the difference between a OUI, DUI, DWI, OWI, DWAI, OUIL, etc.
These terms are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as drunk driving. Different states have different names for the crime. Massachusetts law prohibits operat[ing] a motor vehicle. while under the influence s o many people use the term OUI. The statute title refers to driving while under influence which could be referenced as DWUI, DWI or DUI. MGL Chapter 90, Section 24. This site uses the terms OUI, DUI, and DWI interchangeably.
I just got arrested for a Commonwealth of Massachusetts OUI offense. What happens now?
ISSUE ONE: The Massachusetts Administrative License Suspension Proceeding: Your Massachusetts drivers license (or your right to drive in Massachusetts if you re not a Massachusetts licensed driver) was most likely suspended for anywhere from 30 days to five years for failing or refusing a chemical test depending on your OUI history. [Failing a breath test is registering .08 percent or greater BAC or registering .02 percent or greater BAC if you re under 21 years of age.]
MASSACHUSETTS ADMINISTRATIVE LICENSE SUSPENSIONS FOR PERSONS 21 YEARS AND OLDER
No Prior OUI s
Read your paperwork carefully. If you would like to challenge the suspension for failing or refusing a chemical test, you must make you appeal within 15 days of your arrest. Requesting an appeal gives you a chance to overturn the administrative suspension, but most appeals are not successful. Contact a Massachusetts lawyer for more information about your appeal rights.
ISSUE TWO: The Massachusetts OUI Criminal Case: Separate from the administrative license suspension is the criminal charge for operating under the influence or OUI. In Massachusetts, it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle while the person:
has a BAC of .08 percent or greater of alcohol in his or her blood; or
is under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or marijuana, or narcotic drugs, or depressants, or stimulants, or the vapors of glue.
Important: The administrative license suspension and the criminal OUI case are separate proceedings.
Will my Massachusetts driver license be revoked / suspended?
RELATED TO ISSUE ONE ABOVE: Your Massachusetts driver license (or your right to drive in Massachusetts if you do not have a valid Massachusetts license) may be suspended for failing or for refusing a chemical (breath) test. Again, you may challenge this suspension by requesting an appeal / hearing within 15 days of the date of your arrest. Massachusetts no longer issues temporary permits for these suspensions.
RELATED TO ISSUE TWO ABOVE: If you are convicted of the OUI charge. you will also lose your license (or your right to drive in Massachusetts if you don t have a valid Massachusetts license). This suspension is distinct from the administrative license suspension. Talk to your Massachusetts OUI lawyer for possible suspension lengths for your situation.
Also keep in mind that your license can be suspended for a variety of reasons unrelated to an OUI arrest e.g. a drug conviction, failure to pay child support, etc.
I have a Massachusetts commercial driver license (CDL). How long will my CDL be suspended for an OUI conviction?
For a first OUI conviction in Massachusetts your CDL will be suspended for one year (regardless of whether you re driving a commercial vehicle). For a second DWI your CDL will be revoked for the rest of your life.
What happens if I get caught operating on a suspended license?
Driving a motor vehicle when your license is suspended for an OUI conviction must be avoided as it is a new criminal offense. Penalties include fines and substantial jail time–typically 60 days. If you re on probation for an OUI and you get caught operating under a suspension you will also violate your probation and face penalties for the probation violation as well.
I really need to drive. Will I be able to get a restricted / occupational / conditional / probationary / hardship permit?
A hardship permit may be available to you but only after you ve been found guilty or had a continuance without a finding (more on that below). Put another way, a hardship license is not available for suspensions related to failing or refusing a breath or blood test while the criminal case against you is pending.
This is one reason why persons charged with a first OUI offense may decide to resolve their case without a trial. It allows you to get back on the road quicker (especially if you refused the breath test).
You may be able to get a hardship permit following a second OUI conviction; however, there will be a substantial waiting period before you become eligible. Additionally, you will have to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
Talk to a OUI lawyer for more information about obtaining a hardship permit and the waiting periods involved.
Is an OUI in Massachusetts a misdemeanor or felony charge?
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, an OUI is usually a misdemeanor crime. However, a third or greater OUI conviction is a felony offenses. Refer to the table below for more information.
What type of penalties might I face if I am convicted of a Massachusetts OUI charge?
Upon conviction of an Massachusetts OUI offense, a defendant can receive a variety of penalties including alcohol education / treatment. A range of minimum penalties is set forth below:
MASSACHUSETTS OUI / DUI PENALTIES