Drunk driving or operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI) is a serious crime in Massachusetts. This article will cover everything you need to know about Massachusetts DUI laws. We will look at the penalties, proper police procedure, building your defense, and field sobriety tests. After reading this article, you will have all the information you will need.
Massachusetts DUI Laws
Let’s start with the basics, what is a DUI? A DUI is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In Massachusetts, the legal limit of blood alcohol content, also known as BAC, is .08% for anyone over the age of 21. However, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is .04%. Those under 21 are subject to stricter laws. Anyone that is not of legal drinking age must have a BAC of lower than .02% while operating a vehicle.
There are also laws against driving under the influence of drugs. The testing in these types of cases is much less specific and is left up to the discretion of the police department. Police agencies nationwide are training officers to recognize impairment from other drugs.
The penalties for a DUI in Massachusetts are strict and depend on certain factors in your case. The number of offenses, whether or not there is an accident, and other factors can affect your punishment. Here is a list of common penalties that result from DUI charges in Massachusetts:
- First Offense: If you are found guilty of a DUI you could face up to a 1-year suspension of your license. Also, there are fines ranging from $500-$5,000. Jail time is also a possibility. A first-time offender can face up to two and a half years in prison. Lastly, the court may make you attend an alcohol education class.
- Second Offense: As you can imagine the penalties for a second DUI offense increase in severity. You could face up to a 2-year suspension of your license. The fines range from $600-$10,000 dollars. Also, Massachusetts DUI laws require a second time offender to serve a minimum of 30 days in jail, and the sentence can be up to two and a half years.
- Third Offense: The penalties for a third, fourth, or fifth offense are steep. Massachusetts DUI laws mandate jail time of between six months to two years for repeat offenders. The license suspensions also increase in length. Your third offense will mean a suspension of driving privileges for eight years, while a fifth offense could result in a lifetime revocation of your driver’s license. Anyone who commits three or more DUIs in Massachusetts must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. Lastly, the fines range from $1,000 to $50,000 for repeat offenders.
What Do You Do If You’re Pulled Over?
The police have to build a case against you. It is their job to find enough proof to charge you with a DUI. You should do as little as possible to help them. Giving the police any information they don’t already have can hurt your case. The only exception to this rule is having to identify yourself. You should never submit to field sobriety tests. The training police officers receive, helps them to make it seem that these tests are in fact a requirement. However, you can refuse to take a field sobriety test.
Exercise your right to remain silent. Don’t just speak, tell the officer that you are exercising your fifth amendment right to remain silent. The police will use anything you say against you in court.
Massachusetts DUI laws include a provision for implied consent. This means that if you are suspected of a DUI, you must submit to a breath or blood test. However, this does not include the portable breathalyzers that police officer’s carry with them. Failing to comply with a police officer’s request for field sobriety tests may lead to an arrest. Even if this is the case, you are much better off than giving the police more evidence to use against you in court.
An experienced DUI attorney in Massachusetts could challenge a case if the police didn’t have enough probable cause to arrest you in the first place. You should do everything in your power to not give the officers probable cause.
Give Yourself a Fighting Chance
Find an attorney that is well versed in Massachusetts DUI laws. If you have done your part to limit the amount of evidence the police have against you, you stand a chance at winning your case. Contact Rory Munns today, and he can help you find the best way to move forward with your case. Every case is different, and you are going to want someone who has years of experience dealing with DUI charges fighting for you.