Being convicted of OUI in Massachusetts can really cost you. Even a first-time OUI can mean jail time, a minimum fine of $500, the loss of your driver’s license for a year, a permanent police record and more. The penalties are higher for those under 21, if you refuse the breath test, or if you are found guilty of OUI more than once.
The legal penalties are substantial, but you’re also facing a sharp increase in your auto insurance rates. A recent study by the online insurance comparison site QuoteWizard found that, on average, being convicted of a first-time OUI increases your insurance by $4,000 over five years.
That study also found that hiring a defense lawyer could save you that money, or more. The people at QuoteWizard wondered if that were the case and decided to find out. They interviewed defense attorneys, examined conviction statistics and researched insurance rate data and found that:
- A single OUI conviction raises your insurance rate by $830 annually, on average, over someone with a clean driving record
- A first OUI conviction costs you about $1,460 more in insurance increases over three years than a conviction for a lesser offense such as negligent or reckless driving
- Defendants who hired an attorney were three times more likely to have their OUI charge reduced to a lesser offense
In other words, if your defense lawyer can get your OUI charge reduced to a lower offense, you could end up saving over $486 per year in insurance increases. Depending on your situation, that could be enough to pay for the cost of the lawyer. Perhaps even more important, the fines, jail time and license suspension would also be reduced.
Naturally, if your lawyer can get your OUI charge dropped completely, there is no doubt of the benefit. And, while no attorney can guarantee a positive outcome, you can’t get an OUI reduced or dismissed by pleading guilty to the charge.
Don’t plead guilty to OUI because you think you can’t afford a lawyer. This study shows that for most people, it’s well worth the cost of hiring one. It is also important to get started on your case as soon after your arrest as possible, so call a defense lawyer now.