In Massachusetts, there are different punishments for OUI / DWI / DUI, depending on the number of prior convictions.
For a first-time OUI/DWI/DUI Massachusetts, the driver can be sentenced up to 2 ½ years in jail and a loss of license for up to one year. For a 2nd offense, the driver can be sentenced up to 2 ½ years and a loss of license up to 2 years. However, there is a minimum mandatory sentence of 60 days in jail. For a 3rd offense, the driver must serve a minimum of 5 months in jail, up to 5 years, and a loss of license up to 8 years. For a 4th offense, the driver must serve a minimum of 1 year in jail, up to 5 years, and a loss of license of 10 years. For a 5th offense, the driver must serve 2 years in jail, and a permanent loss of license.
Alternative Sentences for OUI/DWI/DUI Massachusetts, including the Cahill Disposition for 2nd Offenders
For a 1st offense, instead of imposing jail time and loss of license up to 1 year, the judge can impose a 45-day loss of license, 1-year probation, a 16-week drunk driving course and statutory fines and fees. For a 2nd offense, instead of a minimum of 60 days in jail and up to 2-year loss of license, the judge can impose a 14-day in-house drunk driving course, along with the 2-year loss of license. However, if the first conviction was more than 10 years prior, the judge can impose a Cahill disposition, in which the DUI is treated as a 1st offense, pursuant to the 2004 decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Commonwealth v. Patrick J. Cahill. If the judge so chooses, he/she is allowed to sentence a 2nd offender to 1-year probation, a 16-week 1st offender drunk driving course, 45-90 day loss of license, with a hardship license. For any 2nd offense DUI, including a Cahill disposition, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will require an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for a minimum of 2 years plus the suspension period. In addition, a driver who is charged with a 2nd offense OUI and refuses a breath test, will have his/her license suspended for an additional 3 years.
Defending Against an OUI / DWI / DUI Massachusetts
Considering the harsh penalties imposed by Massachusetts for any violation of its drunk driving laws, it is crucial that the driver hire an experienced Massachusetts criminal lawyer, with a track record of success, as soon after the arrest as possible. The attorney can review the police report and complaint and advise the driver of his/her viable options, including a plea, jury trial or bench trial. The attorney can also explain the complicated legal process, so the driver is prepared for the arraignment, pre-trial conferences, motions, plea, etc. Together, the driver and Massachusetts criminal lawyer can develop a winning legal strategy.