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OUI convictions may remain on criminal records

OUI convictions may lead to a jail sentence and fines in Massachusetts. Other OUI conviction consequences include a criminal record that can follow the offender's business and academic life and cost money.

A first-time OUI conviction may carry a term of imprisonment of up to 2½ years, a fine of $500 to $5,000 and license suspension for up to one year. A conviction without the option of entering any type of probationary or pre-trial diversion program may remain on a person's criminal and driving records.

A OUI conviction can remain on a driving record for 10 years. This could lead to higher insurance premiums, questions from employers, notice to educational institutions and other problems.

There are some options to keep a first-time conviction off a record. A person may accept probation which is often called 24D probation. Judges and prosecutors have the discretion to grant this probation that is usually available to first-time offenders. Under this probation, the case is continued without finding until the successful completion of a program that normally includes completion of a state-approved alcohol education program.

The case will be dismissed if all the 24D probation agreement terms are successfully completed. Successful completion counts as a dismissal for most employers and education institutions.

But the judicial system and the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles still consider the case as an OUI conviction even if a 24B probation is successfully completed. That conviction may be used against offenders if they are ever charged with another OUI offense. This helps serve as a deterrent for repeat offenses but multiplies the consequences of future offenses.

A motorist charged with an OUI should seek immediate legal representation. An attorney can challenge evidence to fight a charge or seek the best resolution of charges.

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