Operating Under the Influence & Subsequent Offenses

In Massachusetts, the criminal offense of operating under the influence, and subsequent offenses, are taken very seriously. This is a very complicated and technical field of the law, and at Urbelis Law we pride ourselves on our extensive professional practice in this area.

Please click here for further details about this charge on our sister website, massduidefenselawyer.com, which is dedicated exclusively to motor vehicle crimes.

In Massachusetts, in order to be convicted of operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the prosecution must prove 3 elements beyond a reasonable doubt: 

  1. You operated a motor vehicle
  2. on a public way
  3. while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Because this charge is often referred to as "drunk driving," a common misconception is that you have to be "drunk" to be found guilty of this offense. That is far from the truth. The prosecution only needs to convince a jury that you consumed enough alcohol or drugs that your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely was impaired, at all. That's a very low threshold of "intoxication" that they must prove. However, this low burden often leads police to jump the gun and make an arrest with insufficient evidence. Even in the case where probable cause to make an arrest exists, that is a far cry from proving beyond all reasonable doubt that you were operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. 

Operating under the influence cases give rise to a significant number of legal issues. We will thoroughly analyze all police reports to make sure that your rights were not, and are not, violated. In many cases, the arrest is predicated on an impermissible motor vehicle stop, or an improper "exit order" from your motor vehicle after the stop. If this occurs in your case, we will file all appropriate motions to have any evidence stemming from the flawed police investigation thrown out.  In many cases, this can result in dismissal of your case. 

In Massachusetts, police are specifically trained on how to investigate potential OUI investigations, and how to administer roadside field sobriety tests. In many cases, these tests are the most significant piece of evidence used by police to justify an arrest. However, 9 out 10 times, the police either improperly administer the test, or document their observations of your performance improperly in their reports. Before taking any case to trial, we always obtain a copy of the arresting officer's field sobriety training manual through the discovery process, which we use to cross examine the officer and point out every little thing that he did wrong, or that he was supposed to do and completely forgot. In cases where there is no breathalyzer test, the prosecution's only evidence, very often, is the testimony of the arresting officer. If we cast doubt on his investigation, it can significantly weaken the case against you, and provide a reason for the jury to find you "Not Guilty." 

There are an infinite number of issues that arise with OUI investigations by Massachusetts state police and local law enforcement. For more "problems associated with OUI investigation," click here. 

In many cases, you may be looking to resolve your operating under the influence case as quickly and painlessly as possible, rather than taking it to trial. We can help. The worst thing you can do is plead guilty without first being fully advised by a criminal defense attorney. There are usually better options than a guilty plea, especially in the case of a first offense. We can almost always minimize your license loss period, and help you through the hardship license hearing process as well. 

For a full description of potential penalties associated with Operating Under the Influence and subsequent offenses, click here

In addition to any administrative license loss penalties from the Massachusetts RMV, Operating Under the Influence carries the following potential penalties: 

1st Offense: 
  • 2 1/2 years in jail
  • Fines from $500- $5,000
  • 1 year license suspension 
2nd Offense: 
3rd Offense (felony):  
  • 180 days mandatory minimum jail sentence, 150 days of which must be served, up to 5 years in state prison
  • Fines from $1,000 to $15,000 
  • 8 year license loss
  • Interlock ignition device installed for 2 years
4th Offense (felony): 
  • 2 years mandatory minimum jail sentence, 1 year of which must be served, up to 5 years in state prison
  • Fines from $1,500 to $25,000 
  • 10 year license loss
  • Interlock ignition device installed for 2 years
  • Forfeiture of your vehicle to the government, without compensation
5th Offense (felony) 
  • 2 1/2 years mandatory minimum in jail, 2 years of which must be served, up to 5 years in state prison
  • Fines from $2,000 to $50,000
  • Lifetime license loss; no hardship license available, ever
  • Forfeiture of your vehicle to the government, without compensation
If you have been charged with operating under the influence in Massachusetts, contact our office immediately: 

(617) 830-2188

Free Consultation
Contact Us