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Key OUI distinctions you should know

A motor vehicle is a heavy piece of machinery that requires proper care and operation. For this reason, there are serious consequences when individuals operate any type of vehicle while under the influence of particular substances.

If you or a loved one face OUI charges, it is important to understand the various aspects of the charges, so you can make an educated decision about the path you should choose. As such, there are a few key distinctions of an OUI charge that you should know.

By definition

An OUI offense occurs when a party operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher on a public road or where other people have right of access. Along with alcohol, a few illegal substances fall under this category, including:

  • Stimulants
  • Drugs
  • Depressants
  • Glue vapors

It is important to note that the blood alcohol level for individuals with commercial driver's licenses must not exceed 0.04 BAC. There is a no tolerance policy for parties under the legal drinking age. When drivers have a BAC of 0.20 or above, the offense becomes an aggravated OUI, which is a serious charge that comes with greater penalties.

Different from a DUI

Though an OUI has many similarities to a DUI, they are still different charges. One difference is that an OUI is a criminal charge in the state of Massachusetts. Also, for a DUI to stand, the party must be operating the vehicle. On the other hand, for an OUI, a party does not have to technically operate the vehicle to commit the offense. For instance, if a party pulls over to the side of the road to rest after drinking, the party would not be guilty of a DUI if the engine is off, even if the key is still in the ignition. However, the key being in the ignition would leave the party vulnerable to an OUI charge.

Considering its larger spanning nature, people are more likely to face OUIs rather than DUIs in the state of Massachusetts. For those who do, it is beneficial to work with a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to determine the best course of action.

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