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OUI conviction has insurance consequences

Keeping up with insurance premiums can be a financial challenge with motorists with relatively good driving records. However, drivers may face expensive car insurance as one of their OUI conviction consequences in Massachusetts.

An OUI conviction follows from a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent. Commercial drivers have a stricter limit of 0.04 percent. Motorists under 21 are held to an even lower standard of 0.02 percent or higher.

Compared to other states, Massachusetts insurance rates are greatly impacted by serious driving violations such as OUI. A conviction can raise annual rates by a mean of $1,162. This is 12 percent greater than the average rate increase in this country for a drunk driving conviction.

The average increase is 96 percent in Massachusetts while the average national increase is 72 percent. The average rate goes up from $1,201 to $2,363 in the Commonwealth.

Finding affordable insurance coverage after an OUI in Massachusetts is also difficult because its impact on premiums is especially severe. These convictions lead to greater rate increases than at-fault accidents, racing, reckless driving or other driving violations.

Most OUI penalties apply to violators of all ages but may vary on the facts of the offense committed by the driver. Massachusetts also lacks a maximum lookback period so that all past OUI convictions are considered when a court decides a driver's sentence and penalties.

OUI convictions can result in imprisonment, license suspension and fines. Their severity depends on whether the OUI conviction was for a first, second or subsequent offense. Other penalties include mandatory use installation and use of an ignition interlock device, possible attendance in an alcohol education program and revocation of vehicle registration.

Penalties are more severe for conviction of OUI with a suspended license, with a passenger under 14-years-old or where there is a fatality. Offenders who are under 21 must also complete a youth alcohol program. Offenders who are between 18 and 21 face a license suspension that is six months longer and those under 18 receive an additional one-year suspension.

Legal representation should be sought to deal with these serious consequences. An attorney can help mount the best defense possible under the circumstances.

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