State Laws

Massachusetts DUI Law

     

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 discretion.

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.

Test Refusal
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.

Repeat Offenses
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 program.

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 two years.

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 ten years.

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 for life.

See also:
Massachusetts Gun Laws
Massachusetts Divorce
Massachusetts Bankruptcy Laws
Massachusetts Felony External link (opens in new window)
Massachusetts Misdemeanors External link (opens in new window)
Massachusetts Expungement External link (opens in new window)