Operating Under the Influence in Massachusetts can be a misdemeanor; however, it can also be a felony.

If you have been charged with Operating Under the Influence, make sure you know your rights and get the representation that you deserve by contacting The Law Office of Barry J. Bisson today.

Police officers have been trained to look for certain signs that someone is under the influence and are very strict about arresting that individual. Keep in mind there are certain procedures a police officer must follow when arresting an individual for this crime and failure to do so can result in the suppression of evidence.

Operating Under the influence does not occur only when an individual has been drinking. M.G.L. c. 90 § 24 provides that an individual may be under the influence by alcohol, drugs, depressants or stimulants and even the vapor of glue.

Penalties for this crime can result in imprisonment and loss of license. There are also a number of fees that the court has no discretion in and which can quickly add up.

In addition to dealing with the possibility of imprisonment, an individual also has to understand the repercussions concerning the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If an individual is charged with an OUI, there are a number of preconviction license suspensions. This means that an individual could lose his or her right to operate a car even before he or she goes to court.

Specific Operating Under the Influence Offenses

In addition to the preconviction license suspensions, there are also the ramifications of being charged with an OUI. There are several different criminal offenses related to OUIs:

1st Offense OUI
2nd Offense OUI
3rd Offense OUI
4th Offense OUI
5th Offense OUI

The penalties for these offenses can be increased if an individual is operating his or her car with a suspended license, if there is a child 14 years or younger in the vehicle or if the individual is a habitual traffic offender. Additionally, an individual may be charged with driving to endanger, leaving the scene of property damage or leaving the scene of personal injury, each of which carries a mandatory suspension period.

Preconviction License Suspension

The first preconviction license suspension is if the individual failed a breathalyzer test. If an individual takes a breathalyzer test and blows a .08 or higher and he or she is 21 years of age or older, his or her license will be suspended for 30 days. If the individual is under the age of 21 and blows a .02 or higher, there is a 30-day loss of license and the individual is required to attend a Youth Alcohol Program.

A second preconviction license suspension occurs when an individual refuses to take a breathalyzer test. Unfortunately, some individuals think that they have a constitutional right not to take a breathalyzer test, which is not true; however, a police officer cannot force an individual to take a breathalyzer test. A license suspension for failing to take a breathalyzer test begins immediately, and depending on the individual’s prior record, the suspension could last anywhere from 6 months (180 days) to a lifetime. The Registry of Motor Vehicles will calculate not only prior guilty findings, but also continuances without a finding in determining the length of the suspension. Additionally, this suspension runs consecutively with any other suspensions. This means that if an individual was found guilty and he or she receives a 2-year loss of license, and the suspension for failing to take a breathalyzer test is 3 years, his or her total loss of license would be 5 years.

A third preconviction license suspension occurs to individuals who are under 21 years of age. There are also additional factors if the individual is under 18 years of age.

If you have been charged with Operating Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated, make sure you know your rights and get the representation that you deserve by contacting The Law Office of Barry J. Bisson today.