Article for a DUI Law Firm

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By: Jonathan Chatfield

Drivers License Suspension can be a major inconvenience. There are many reasons that it is so important to be able to get around our city every day. Here is some valuable information for you to know.

Because humans are social creatures, we love to spend quality time with our friends and family. We go to our best friends weddings and sporting events. Sometimes we gather to celebrate births or mourn the passing of loved ones. Doing these things together in groups of friends or as families is typical. Many of these situations include enjoying a drink of celebration with the people we love. Sometimes we imbibe to take the edge off an emotional situation. Throughout history, people have enjoyed gathering together to socialize and provide support for one another. Often alcohol is consumed on these occasions.

We all enjoy a good drink from time to time. However, part of being a responsible adult member of society is knowing when to “say when.” It means knowing when it is unsafe to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Most people use their best judgment and stop drinking with enough time to get it out of their system. Not everyone feels they can make that judgment call. As a result, they plan on a designated driver for the event. Because that is always the best solution.

Sometimes, even if we feel that we are completely sober and in control, we still have more than the legal limit of alcohol in our system. When we get behind the wheel of our car to head home, it is important never to take chances.

Guidelines You Need to Know

The state of Massachusetts refers to  Drunk Driving as OUI or Operating Under the Influence. A Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) detected at a certain level or above is known as the ‘Legal Limit.’ Because of the danger presented to yourself and others, this will incur stiff penalties.

If your BAC is above the amounts listed below you could face serious penalties:

  • 0.08% and higher for Drivers that are over the age of 21 who are operating a standard passenger vehicle.
  • 0.04% and higher is above the legal limit of you are operating a commercial vehicle.
  • 0.02% is the limit if you are under the age of 21 in the state of Massachusetts.

These limits are for Blood Alcohol Level. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of prescription drugs, illegal drugs is dangerous. And because sometimes even over-the-counter drugs can impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely, you could be dangerous behind the wheel. If you are pulled over for any of the above, many of the same penalties of OUI apply.

Please refer to Chapter 2 of the MA Drivers’s Manual for a more in-depth, detailed explanation of all specifics.

What Are the Penalties?

Being pulled over for suspected OUI is a serious situation. A conviction for Operating Under the Influence will have criminal penalties. These sanctions will depend on your number of offenses. The Registry of Motor Vehicles will also assess certain administrative penalties. Your particular case could have Administrative Penalties, or Criminal Penalties, or a combination of both. You could lose your driving privileges in all cases for increasing amounts of time.

First Offense

  • Administrative Penalty – Between 45 and 90 days
  • Criminal Penalty – Drivers License Suspension for ONE year

Second Offense

  • Administrative Penalty – Varies by time between charges
  • Criminal Penalty – Drivers License Suspension for TWO years

Third Offense

  • Administrative Penalty – Varies by time between charges
  • Criminal Penalty – Drivers License Suspension for EIGHT years

Fourth Offense

  • Administrative Penalty – Varies by time between charges
  • Criminal Penalty – Drivers License Suspension for TEN years

Fifth Offense

  • Administrative Penalty – Varies by time between charges
  • Criminal Penalty – Drives License Suspension FOR LIFE is possible.

As you can clearly see above, these sanctions are stiff and can present a serious inconvenience. Also, Drivers License Suspension isn’t the only concern. Installing an IID, or Interface Ignition Device is often required. Alcohol Education Programs are often a requirement. Jail time of between 2 and 1/2 and five years is a very real possibility. Because of the seriousness of repeat offenses, Felony charges apply beginning with the third offense. A Vehicular Manslaughter conviction could ensure you spend up to 20 years behind bars.

Additional Considerations

If you are pulled over under suspicion of OUI, you may be asked to submit to a Chemical Test. Refusing to take this test will result in even longer suspension periods by the RMV. Specific timeframes from the RMV site are given below:

If you are over 21

  • First offense: 180 days.
  • Second offense: 3 years.
  • Third offense: 5 years.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: Lifetime.

If you are below the age of 21

  • First offense: 3 years.
  • Second offense: 3 years.
  • Third offense: 5 years.
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: Lifetime.

My License is Suspended, Now What?

Losing your license can present many challenges. As a result, you will face many challenges, most notably when it comes to everyday tasks. The simple, yet crucial, act of going to the store to pick up a few groceries can become an inconvenience process.  Going to work, or to the doctor, will require planning. When you have to pick the kids up from school, you may have to rely on unpredictable public transportation.

Applying for a hardship license may be an option for you. However, there are many criteria and limitations with a hardship license. It is always in your best interest to seek guidance from a qualified DUI Attorney any time you find yourself facing OUI charges.

Because when it comes to OUI, prevention is the best medicine. Losing your license is inconvenient and problematic on many levels. If you have questions or need further information, reach out to your Boston DUI Attorney.

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