According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 1.5 million people are arrested on impaired driving charges every year in the United States. The circumstances that lead to the charges vary, but it’s not uncommon for drivers to find themselves facing this serious offense.
It’s natural to be worried and to wonder about the implications of the charge. Will you be able to drive again? How much will this cost? What effect will an OUI charge have on your job and personal life? These may seem like daunting questions with no clear answer.
During this stressful time, an experienced attorney can help answer these questions and ease your anxiety. At Gilman Law, P.C., attorney Matthew Gilman represents those who have been charged with OUI or DUI in Massachusetts. He will help you understand the process, explore all of your legal options, and guide you on the best path to meeting your goals.
The moment you see those flashing lights in your rearview mirror can change your whole life. Don’t take longer than that to take the first step to protect yourself and your future. Contact attorney Matthew Gilman today. Schedule a consultation in his office—or even in your home—to learn more about who he is, what he does, and how he can help you successfully address a Massachusetts OUI charge.
Understanding Massachusetts Operating Under the Influence Laws
While alcohol and drugs can affect people differently based on many factors including gender, weight, and rate of ingestion, every state in the U.S. has laws that set limits and address those who operate a vehicle while impaired.
In Massachusetts, impaired driving laws fall under two categories:
- OUI Liquor. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, State law sets the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) at .08 percent. If a person is arrested and submit to a chemical breath test they will be charged with OUI if their blood alcohol content (BAC) is found to be .08% or higher. With a BAC of .08% or higher, a person will be arrested for OUI under a "per se" violation. The person does not need to be intoxicated or high to be arrested and charged with OUI - a BAC over the legal limit is enough.
- OUI Drugs. There are no set guidelines for determining drug impairment, but chemical and observational tests are used to determine the type and amount of drugs in a driver’s system, as well as the level of impairment. A drug-related OUI charge can stem from illegal drug use or abuse of legal prescriptions.
Every operator of a motor vehicle in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by simply operating a vehicle has already consented to providing a breath sample or a blood sample at the hospital. However every driver has the right to refuse a chemical test, but refusal will result in an immediate suspension of your driver’s license. The license suspension for any refusal will be suspended for at least six months and up to a lifetime suspension.
A suspension for refusing the breath test or blood test can be appealed through the Registry of Motor Vehicles within 15 days of the arrest. It is important to note that even if your OUI charges are dismissed or you are found not guilty, it is still necessary to immediately file a motion with the court to have your driving privileges reinstated. Regardless of the outcome, it can be possible to retain some driving rights.
Common Penalties for OUI Convictions in Massachusetts
The consequences of an OUI conviction can be far-reaching for both you and your family. One mistake or misunderstanding has the power to change your whole life and force you to deal with serious repercussions. While an experienced attorney can help minimize these effects, it’s important to take action to protect your rights as soon as possible.
Although penalties are based on the unique circumstances of each case, some common punishments include:
- License suspension.
- Driver alcohol education class.
- Ignition interlock installation.
- Jail time.
In addition to the legal complications, many drivers experience significant stress in their personal and professional lives, as well. An OUI conviction can be embarrassing, and even more seriously, can lead to:
- Loss of employment.
- Loss of professional licensure.
- Increased insurance premiums.
- Immigration issues.
- Strained family relationships.
Breath Test Refusal Suspension Appeals: Massachusetts has an implied consent law that requires you, a driver, to consent to a breath test upon the request of a police officer or face a significant license suspension. If the Registry of Motor Vehicles receives notification that you have allegedly refused the breath test you have a very limited time period to challenge the refusal. You only have 15 days from the date of your arrest to appeal at the Driver Control Unit in Boston to request a hearing to contest the suspension and challenge the allegation that you refused the breath test.
An Experienced OUI Attorney Can Help Protect Your Rights and Your Future
With so much at stake, it’s critical to have an experienced lawyer fighting for you. Attorney Matthew Gilman works hard to help his clients minimize the negative consequences of an OUI. He draws on his years as an agent for the Registry of Motor Vehicles to anticipate what may come and prepare a complete, compelling case. He has been on both sides of impaired driving laws—both as an RMV hearings officer and a defense attorney for clients just like you. He knows what it takes to be successful, and he can provide the guidance and knowledge you need now. Call Gilman Law, P.C. or take a moment to fill out the v on this page to get in touch directly with Matthew.