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Operating Under the Influence causing Serious Bodily Injury

In Massachusetts, under MGL c. 90 s. 24L, there are two levels of operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury. This first level is a misdemeanor and the second is a felony.

In order to be convicted to felony OUI- serious bodily injury, the prosecution must prove that you did:

  1. Operate a motor vehicle
  2. on a public way
  3. under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  4. negligently, recklessly, or in a dangerous way
  5. by operating in that way caused serious bodily injury

This charge carries a mandatory minimum 6 month jail sentence, up to the following potential penalties:

  • 6 months in jail (minimum) up to 10 years in state prison
  • $5,000 fine
  • 2 year license loss (mandatory)

In order to be convicted of misdemeanor OUI- serious bodily injury, the prosecution must prove the same elements as felony OUI- serious bodily injury other than #3- negligent, reckless, or dangerous operation. This is often a lesser-included offense of the felony charge. In reality, there is very little difference between the elements of these two charges. If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs and cause serious bodily injury, a reasonable jury can almost always find that you were driving dangerously.

Misdemeanor OUI- serious bodily injury carries the following potential penalties:

  • 2 1/2 years in jail
  • $3,000 fine
  • 2 year license loss (mandatory)

If you are charged with either felony or misdemeanor OUI- serious bodily injury, it is important to realize that the prosecution must still prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that you are guilty of OUI. Thus, all of the available strategies and defenses for OUI cases are available. It is important that you not speak to law enforcement, and contact a skilled criminal defense attorney if you have been charged, or believe you may be charged, with this offense.

In order to be convicted of either felony or misdemeanor OUI- serious bodily, unlike with leaving the scene of personal injury, the prosecution must prove the sustained injury is serious. For purposes of this charge, serious bodily injury is defined as any of the following:

  • creates a substantial risk of death
  • involves total disability
  • involves loss of limb or substantial impairment of some bodily function for a substantial period of time

At Urbelis Law, we will investigate and determine all potential defenses to this charge. We will fight to win at trial. However, many of our clients, for a variety of reasons, do not want to take the case to trial. We are here to advise you of all available defense strategies, even if it means working out a deal to avoid trial. In many cases, we can arrange for the prosecution to drop the felony charge in exchange for probation, and potentially even a CWOF, for the misdemeanor charge. This can be a very favorable outcome, because it would take the mandatory minimum 6 month jail time off the table. It is important that you contact our office for your free consultation so we can start looking into your particular case.

Please visit our sister website,, which is dedicated exclusively to motor vehicle crimes.

If you have been charged with operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury, contact our office immediately:(617) 830-2188

Client Reviews
"Ben Urbelis recently represented me in an OUI case in which I had crashed my car. I honestly did not believe I had any chance of beating it, but fortunately for me Ben was outstanding and all charges were dropped. In my first hearing he was calm, assertive and straight to the point. I was extremely impressed and satisfied. I left my hearing feeling confident that I had made the right choice of hiring him. I am positive I would have lost this case and walked away with an OUI if I hadn't. I am very happy with how he handled my case and how reassured I felt having him as my lawyer." MC
"Benjamin Urbelis, an attorney with Urbelis Law LLC, took our call late in the evening when we needed him. Benjamin explained the legal process in a manner that we could understand and provided the legal representation needed to clear up the issue immediately. His experience and credentials were evident in the way in which he handled all of the details of our case and achieved complete success. Thank you Benjamin for your professionalism and wise counsel." FB
"Huge thank you to not only my friend, but my lawyer,Ben Urbelis..I presented him with a case that at first was a bit tricky on paper... but we worked hard together and got all information we needed to prove i was innocent! He knew from the get go a year ago that he was gonna smash this case, and he did!! Cant thank you enough man! If anyone needs a lawyer, hes your guy... no question" PB