If you are charged with a DUI in Massachusetts, you risk the chance of it going on your driving and criminal record for life.
It can have a long-lasting effect on your criminal record, therefore, impacting your career, insurance cost, and other important factors. The exact amount of time
varies for each state.
How Long Do Points Stay On Your Driving Record?
In the state of Massachusetts, after being convicted of or found responsible of a major traffic law violation you are penalized by receiving 5 points on your driving record for 6 years. This can be caused by criminal violations, such as operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs, leaving the scene of an accident, or refusing to stop for a police officer.
These points are administered after receiving a DUI conviction or program assignment and are seen in numerous areas of your records.
Your first DUI will appear on your criminal record for life. You can request to have this “sealed” from your record. By contacting a lawyer, you can discuss your case and options.
How To Check Driving Record
Any person can request their driving or RMV records on Mass.gov where driving histories, crash reports, and criminal or civil offenses are easily accessed. You can request your history or someone else's. The public driving record is a complete look at a driver license holder's driving career in Massachusetts, there are 2 types to choose from.
The first type of driving record is an unattested public driving record used for personal or informational purposes. Then there is the true and attested public driving record used for official and/or court purposes, carrying the signature of the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. The latter applies to DUI/OUI cases in the court of law.
Does A Warning Go On Your Driving Record?
Often, instead of receiving demerit points, Massachusetts gives what are considered Surchargeable Incidents. Motor vehicle violations and at-fault accidents are considered surchargeable incidents and, in most cases, will appear on your driving record. Official warnings may affect certain parts of your case. These events can sometimes lead to license suspension. Consult with your attorney to determine whether or not an official warning will have a serious impact on your license records.
How are court-finding dates used in determining license suspensions and revocations?
Court-finding dates play a crucial role in determining license suspensions and revocations. This information is used by the Mass Registry to calculate various penalties and restrictions for drivers. At Gilman Law, P.C., we analyze and review each client's driving record. When reviewing the driving record, we look at the court-finding dates to identify specific incidents or violations. These dates are used to assess seven surchargeable event suspensions, which are penalties imposed on drivers who accumulate a certain number of surchargeable events within a specific timeframe. Moreover, the court-finding dates are essential for determining four-year habitual traffic offender revocations, which are more severe penalties for individuals who repeatedly engage in serious traffic offenses.
Additionally, the team examines court-finding dates in second-offense DUI cases to determine if the defendant is eligible for treatment as a "2nd chance first offender" in accordance with the Cahill decision and G.L. c. 90 § 24D. This consideration allows for potential leniency or alternative options for individuals facing DUI charges. Furthermore, court-finding dates are taken into account by the Registry to determine if a driver must have an ignition interlock restriction on their license. This restriction requires the installation of an interlock device in the vehicle, which requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the car.
In summary, court-finding dates are used in assessing license suspensions and revocations. They are instrumental in determining surchargeable event suspensions, habitual traffic offender revocations, eligibility for treatment as a "2nd chance first offender" in DUI cases, and the requirement for an ignition interlock restriction.
What information is included in a certified copy of a Massachusetts Driver’s History?
A certified copy of a Massachusetts Driver's History contains vital information about your driving record. It includes a letter from the Registrar affirming that it is a true copy of your driving history and any notices of suspension or revocation. The record will prominently feature details like your name, date of birth, license number, address, license issue date, expiration date, license class, and endorsements. There will also be a code indicating your license status, such as ACT (active), REV (revoked), RRV (right to operate revoked), NRE (non-renewable), or EXP (expired).
Moreover, the certified record will provide copies of notices pertaining to license suspensions and revocations that were allegedly sent to you by the Registry. These notices are crucial in court proceedings, as they demonstrate the official notification of suspension and are used to prove violations such as operating after suspension or revocation. Additionally, they can establish prior operating under the influence convictions, subjecting the driver to the enhanced penalties of Melanie's Law, which may include extended license suspensions and ignition interlock requirements for repeat DUI offenders.
Furthermore, the certified copy of your Massachusetts Driver History will present a comprehensive list of all offenses and actions recorded by the Mass-Merit Rating Board. Within this list, you will find four columns providing essential data such as the date of the incident or notification, representing the date when the violation occurred or when the Registry was informed, descriptions of offenses or motor vehicle violations, finally a disposition code is included, such as CW (continued without a finding), DISM (dismissed), R (responsible), G (guilty), NG (not guilty), or CD (complaint denied at a Clerk-Magistrate hearing).
Additionally, the driving record will indicate the court location where each case was tried. Finally, the record will include the court-finding date, which denotes when the case was conclusively resolved. These court-finding dates are crucial for determining various aspects, including 7 surchargeable event suspensions, 4-year habitual traffic offender revocations, eligibility for treatment as a "2nd chance first offender" in second offense DUI cases, and the requirement for an ignition interlock restriction on the license.
Lastly, it's important to note that your driving record may incorporate out-of-state violations, which the Registry may sometimes treat as if they had occurred in Massachusetts for the purposes of license suspension and revocation.
Is A DUI A Misdemeanor?
A first and second offense for a DUI is a misdemeanor in the state of Massachusetts.
First-offense DUI convictions carry a jail sentence of up to two and a half years. Second-offense DUIs lead to heavier penalties and punishments. Just because you are charged does not mean you will receive the maximum sentences. An experienced attorney will be able to represent you during your case and could help you avoid punishments altogether.
A third or subsequent DUI conviction is a felony. This could seriously impact your ability to get a job, remain employed, vote, and more. Having an attorney early on can help reduce your risk of conviction.
Learn more about misdemeanor and felony DUIs at our blog.
Long-Term Consequences Of A DUI On Your Record
The long-term consequences after receiving a DUI charge can cause significant stress of many aspects in a person's life. The consequences of a DUI/OUI can be long-lasting for both you and your loved ones. Examples of long-term consequences of a DUI on your record include:
- Negative impact on employment and background checks
- Increased insurance rates
- Damage to professional and personal relationships
- Impacts scholarships and schooling
Work with your attorney to ensure that they have everything they need to defend you in your case.
Employment And Background Checks
When you are convicted of a DUI, it will appear on your criminal record. Employers are permitted to run a background check on future employees applying to their organization. They can access records from the government or a third-party company that specializes in this. If you have a DUI, it will appear on the background check report.
Massachusetts is one of the strictest states to punish for DUIs. The average auto insurance rate increase after a DUI in the U.S. is 72 percent; in Massachusetts, the average is 96 percent. Once you are charged a DUI, you are automatically placed in the category of a high-risk driver.
Professional And Personal Relationships
Being charged with a DUI can impact your career and personal life in many ways. Employers can review your criminal record and if you do want a new job, you may not pass a background check. Financially, emotionally, and personally, your life is affected by this legal charge.
Scholarships And Schooling
Because the DUI charge is on your criminal record, you run the risk of losing your school scholarship or grant. If you are applying for student aid, it could be denied. In more severe cases, expulsion can be a possibility at your institution.
How Can I Avoid A DUI Going On My Record?
In Massachusetts, your first offense DUI will stay on your criminal record for life. You may request to have this charge sealed.
Question: How long can you go to jail on your first DUI offense?
Answer: 2 to ½ years. Read more about first DUI offenses here.
Question: Does the registry ever deny the suspension request?
Answer: Typically, the RMV will support the police officer's decision to suspend driving privileges on immediate threat suspension requests.
Question: How can you lose your driving privileges in Massachusetts?
Answer: Surchargeable incidents (7 especially), habitual traffic offender, breathalyzer test refusal, OUI/DUI, out-of-state suspensions, motor vehicle violations, etc.
Question: What is a hardship license?
Answer: In general, a hardship license is a license that can be used for any purpose 7 days a week but is limited to twelve (12) hours a day.
Question: What is the cost of a hardship license?
Answer: Generally, the costs per suspension range from $100.00 to $1,200.00.