Massachusetts DUI Prosecution
Massachusetts has two different ways of prosecuting drunk driving
offenses. One of these is called per se law. Under this prosecution an
individual can be convicted simply because his or her blood alcohol
content percentage was over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Minors may
be convicted of per se offenses if their blood alcohol content levels
exceed 0.02 percent.
Under these terms the prosecuting attorney will only need to prove to
the court that the individual's blood alcohol content exceed the limit.
DUI or OUI trials in Massachusetts are normally tried by six-person
jury, but an individual may request a judge instead, at his or her own
An individual can also be convicted of a drunk driving offense due to
impairment. Under this kind of conviction the prosecuting attorney will
have to prove to the court that the individual was impaired while
driving. The prosecution will provide evidence that can include breath
tests, driving patterns, urine tests, physical appearance, blood
alcohol content tests, and field sobriety tests. However simply because
an individual's blood alcohol content exceeded the legal limit does not
mean he or she was impaired.
When a person is to be arrested for drunk driving, he or she will be
provided with a breath test and field sobriety tests. When an
individual acquires a driver's license he or she gives implied consent
to submit to a chemical test upon request. If an individual refuses to
submit to testing he or she will have his or her driver's license
automatically suspended for one hundred eighty days and the court will
infer that the individual is guilty. A guilty offense cannot be
eliminated from a record, even with expungement or after five years.
In Massachusetts individuals are punished according to the number of
prior DUI offenses. The convictions can also be aggravated if a minor
was in the vehicle upon arrest, if an individual was injured, or if a
blood alcohol content percentage was twice the legal limit.
A first DUI offense can earn incarceration between a few days and two
and half years, a fine between five hundred dollars and five thousand
dollars, and driver's license suspension for one year. Probation is
mandatory along with participation in a certified drug and alcohol
A second DUI offense can earn incarceration between sixty days and two
and one half years, a fine between six hundred dollars and one thousand
dollars, two years of probation, and driver's license suspension for
A third DUI offense can earn incarceration between one hundred eighty
days and five years for a felony conviction, a fine between one
thousand dollars and fifteen thousand dollars, and driver's license
suspension for eight years.
A fourth DUI offense can earn incarceration between two years and five
years for a felony conviction, a fine between fifteen hundred dollars
and twenty-five thousand dollar, and driver's license suspension for
A fifth DUI offense can earn incarceration between two and one half
years and five years for a felony conviction, a fine between two
thousand and fifty thousand dollars, and driver's license suspension