OUI vs. DUI: What's the Difference?
Both OUIs and DUIs refer to impaired driving charges in the state of Massachusetts. But, is there a difference? Under Massachusetts law, they mean the same thing and are often used interchangeably
Each state has different terminology when referring to driving while intoxicated. For example, in Hawaii, OVUII means operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. In Michigan, OWPD means operating with any presence of a schedule 1 drug or cocaine. Some states have varying degrees of DUI levels based on BAC levels. Massachusetts does not have this practice. An OUI/DUI is an OUI/DUI.
What Does OUI Mean?
OUI refers to “operating” a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, narcotics, depressants, or stimulant substances as defined in Section 1 Chapter 94C. You can be charged with an OUI for operating a vehicle on a public access road or place where members of the public can have access through a license or invitation.
What Does DUI Mean?
DUI refers to driving under the influence in Massachusetts. You can be charged with a DUI if your BAC is above .06% or if the officer finds sufficient evidence that your ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired.
Where Can I Get Charged with a OUI?
The term OUI is only used in certain states, similar to a DWI or DUI or, in some states, DWAI. You can be charged with an OUI in the following states:
In the state of Massachusetts, you can be charged with an OUI in any place in which the public has access, including places where the public can be granted access through licenses or invitations.
Penalties for OUI/DUI
For a first conviction or plea to operating under the influence, drivers are subject to a fine between $500-$5,000 and a driver's license suspension from 45 days to one year. There's a remote possibility of a jail sentence of up to 2.5 years.
Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test can add a 180-day license suspension, or a 30-day license suspension if your BAC is .08 or above. If you refuse the breath test any OUI suspension runs on and offer the refusal suspension
First-time offenders are eligible for the 24D disposition, which contains a reduced license suspension of 45-90 days and 1-year probation period and requires completion of the driver alcohol education program (DAE).
Second offense convictions result in a $600-$10,000 fine, jail time up to 2 ½ years, and a 2-year license suspension. You must also install an IID in your vehicle.
Third offense convictions are considered felonies with $1,000-$15,000 in fines, 8-year license suspension, and mandatory jail sentence.
OUI vs. DUI Intoxication Levels
The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in Massachusetts is .08 percent. However, a person can be arrested and charged with OUI/DUI if their BAC is over .06 percent.
Massachusetts has an implied consent policy, meaning that if you are arrested for an OUI or DUI, you have to consent to a breathalyzer test. Failing to do so will result in higher penalties.
For commercial drivers, you can be charged if your BAC is .04 or more. Young drivers (under 21 years old) cannot have a BAC over .02 as part of Massachusetts' Zero Tolerance Policy.
Is an OUI a Felony in MA?
If it is your third OUI or greater, Massachusetts will consider your conviction a felony. However, it is also possible that a first or second OUI conviction will be a felony as well, depending on the charges.
Contact an Attorney if You Are Charged With a DUI/OUI
The most important thing you should do first when you are charged with a DUI/OUI is contact an attorney. An attorney will have the experience you need to help you win your case or put you in the best position to be successful. They will be able to guide you through the legal proceedings.
Contact Gilman Law P.C. if you have been charged with a DUI/OUI.