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, massduidefenselawyer.com, 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

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