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What are the penalties for a first-time OUI?

Being arrested for OUI, operating under the influence, in Massachusetts is a serious matter that can adversely affect your life in many ways. If this is your first arrest for OUI, you are likely concerned about the potential penalties you will face if convicted. OUI convictions incur both administrative and criminal penalties, so it is important to understand the potential penalties associated with a first-time OUI conviction.

Administrative penalties

Upon a conviction for OUI, the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) will impose its own set of penalties. For first-time offenders, the RMV will suspended suspend your license for a year, and you will have to complete all of the requirements associated with your OUI conviction in order to have your license reinstated. The reinstatement fee ranges from $50 all the way up to $1,200, and some drivers even have to re-apply for their licenses or apply for a hardship license.

Criminal penalties

Along with administrative penalties, the court will also impose criminal penalties upon conviction. For first-time OUI offenders, you will likely have to pay a fine, which could be from $500 to $5,000. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may also face jail time - even for a first-time offense. The maximum sentence is 2 ½ years. The possibility of jail time will increase if you caused an accident that injured or killed others. Additionally, younger drivers (under 21) may have to complete an alcohol education program and serve additional license suspension periods.

Create a defense

Considering the impact a conviction for OUI can have on your life, you need to ensure you create an effective defense against the charges. With that in mind, you should retain a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest to increase your chances of success. An attorney experienced in defending drunk driving charges can analyze the prosecution's evidence against you and build a strong defense on your behalf.

In creating a defense strategy for you, your lawyer will question the officer's actions at the initial traffic stop. This can include whether or not the officer had probable cause to stop you for drunk driving and whether or not the officer read you your Miranda rights when placing you under arrest. Did the officer conduct the field sobriety tests and breath tests appropriately? Was the Breathalyzer calibrated properly? Could you have had other medical issues that made it appear as if you were driving drunk? These are some of the questions your attorney can ask to help fight the charges against you.

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