Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Massachusetts and all states. While you may have never planned for a police officer to pull you over and charge you for OUI, it could happen to anyone. In your situation, you may have genuinely believed that your prescription medication had worn off or that the alcoholic beverages you consumed had not impacted your abilities, and as a result, you chose to get behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, that same night, an officer stopped your vehicle and suspected you of impairment. Now, you face a charge for OUI, and you undoubtedly worry about the impacts a conviction could have on your future.
When it comes to determining whether someone is illegally operating a vehicle, officers tend to utilize blood alcohol concentration limits. The limits that could come into play in your case include the following:
- .08 percent represents the per se limit that signifies driver intoxication.
- .20 percent means that a driver has significantly exceeded the legal limit, and as a result, he or she will face enhanced or aggravated OUI charges.
- If you are under the age of 21, you can face charges if your BAC level reaches only .02 percent.
Of course, you may want to remember that, if an officer obtained these results from a roadside breath test, you could challenge those results due to the unreliable nature of portable breath test machines.
If an officer asks you to submit to a breath test, you may wonder whether you could refuse. Implied consent laws apply in the state, which means that you essentially gave consent to submit to such tests when you obtained your driver’s license. If you refuse, you may face automatic penalties.
The punishment for OUI depends on various factors. However, you may want to keep in mind that you cannot face consequences for OUI charges unless the court convicts you of the allegations. If you do face a conviction, the following penalties could apply:
- Your license could be under suspension for one year if convicted for a first offense.
- You will have to go through alcohol education, assessment and treatment.
- You could have your vehicle confiscated.
- You may have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Because you undoubtedly want to avoid any type of punishment, you may want to put a great deal of focus into creating a defense against the charges.