Massachusetts has a proud brewing tradition. Residents take beer seriously, but the laws relating to drunk driving are just as serious. The best way to avoid an operating under the influence charge [OUI] is to stay out of a vehicle if you've been drinking. The next best way is to properly understand the OUI laws, including your rights and the potential penalties for different OUI charges.
Massachusetts OUI Laws Overview
In Massachusetts, as everywhere else in the United States, it is against that law to drink alcohol to the point of being "under the influence" and operating your motor vehicle. It is also against the law to be under the influence of a controlled substance or even a prescription drug and drive. While some of you know this crime as "DUI," in this state it is known as "Operating Under the Influence" (OUI). No matter whether we are talking DUI, DWI, or OUI, it is illegal and punishment for this crime can be severe, including losing your driver's license for a period of time and more.
Implied Consent Laws
If you are suspected of a Massachusetts OUI, a police officer can require you to take a blood or breath test to determine the amount of alcohol in your system. You don't have the option of refusing to take this test. Why? Because of implied consent laws which basically say that when you signed up for the privilege to drive, you impliedly agreed to take a chemical test when a police officer suspects you of driving while intoxicated. If you do refuse, the penalties can include an automatic driver's license suspension and even a separate criminal charge.
The following chart provides information about the blood alcohol levels that trigger a charge, various penalties and resources for getting assistance with your OUI defense.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Massachusetts OUI Resources:
- Massachusetts OUI Statute: Operating under the Influence (Mass. Gen. Laws 90 24).
- OUI: Suspensions and Hearings - Details on license suspensions and hearings following a failed or refused blood alcohol test (Mass. Dept. of Transportation).
- Ignition Interlock - Background on Melanie's Law and Massachusetts' ignition interlock program (Mass. Dept. of Transportation).
- OUI Brochure - Details on developments in Massachusetts
Facing OUI Charges? Get Professional Legal Help Today
If you are accused of OUI in Massachusetts, make sure you know the law and your options before making your next move. Attorneys who represent clients in DUI cases can ensure that you present a strong defense to OUI charges. Get started today by finding an experienced OUI attorney today.