Getting arrested for drunk driving in Massachusetts can begin a series of events that can cause devastating legal and financial problems. OUI conviction consequences may be long-lasting. A motorist arrested for OUI will be asked to undergo a breathalyzer test. There is no effective way to mask a person’s breath to defeat this test. Penalties for test refusal can include a license suspension of 180 days to a lifetime depending on the OUI conviction record. The vehicle may also be impounded.
Exceeding the blood alcohol content limit of 0.08 constitutes a test failure which will result in the immediate license suspension for 30 days. Minors exceeding 0.02 face license suspension. OUI convictions remain on a driver’s record for their life. A first-time conviction carries prison time, one-year license suspension and a fine of $500 to $5,000.
The fine is only part of the possible financial penalties. Towing fees, cars storage, legal and court costs, surcharges, driver’s alcohol education program and other costs can raise this to over $8,000. Penalties increase for each subsequent conviction. For a fifth offense, a motorist may be imprisoned for two to five years, pay a fine of $2,000 to $5,000 and a lifetime license suspension.
There are other drunk driving offenses such as drunk driving under 21, drunk driving with a commercial driver’s license and driving drunk while already suspended for OUI. Driving under the influence with a child passenger under 14 are grounds for prosecution of OUI and child endangerment while OUI, which carries a penalty of 90 days to years of imprisonment, a $1,000 to $5,000 fine and license suspension for one year.
Drivers with a least two OUI convictions may seek an ignition interlock device if they are eligible for a hardship license or license reinstatement. This is a handheld device that is electronically connected to the vehicle’s ignition and will not allow the vehicle to start unless the driver can pass a breathalyzer. An IID may be required for up to two years. It has a $100 to $500 installation cost plus a monthly cost of at least $85.