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Massachusetts DUI Law

In Massachusetts, if you are driving with a blood alcohol level of greater than .08, you are considered to be driving drunk.

Penalties

First Offense:

For the first offense, you may be fined $500 - $5,000 and imprisoned for up to 2.5 years. Your license will be suspended for one year, however you will be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 3 months and a general hardship license in 6. The first offender may request that his jail term be served only on designated weekends, evenings, and holidays so that he may sustain his employment.

First Offense Handled as Alternative Disposition:

Massachusetts offers an Alternative Disposition through the court system that allows a first offender to seek residential treatment for drugs and alcohol in lieu of jail time. This requires 14 days in a residential program. The offender must pay for the program by himself and will be placed on probation for a period of two years following treatment. His license will also be suspended for 30 days.

Second Offense:

Upon the second conviction, you will be fined $600 - $10,000 and imprisoned for a period of 60 days – 2.5 years. The prison term may not be suspended or reduced below 30 days. Your license will be suspended for two years, however you will be eligible for a work/education hardship license in one year and a general hardship license in 18 months.

Third Offense:

Upon the third conviction, you will be fined $1,000 - $15,000 and imprisoned for a period of 2.5 – 5 years. The prison term may not be suspended or reduced below 150 days. Your license will be suspended for eight years, however you will be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 2 years and a general hardship license in 4 years.

Fourth Offense:

Upon the fourth conviction, you will be fined $1,500 - $25,000 and imprisoned for a period of 2.5 – 5 years. The prison term may not be suspended or reduced below 12 months. Your license will be suspended for ten years, however you will be eligible for a work/education hardship license in 5 years and a general hardship license in 8 years. On the fourth conviction, the vehicle may be subject to civil forfeiture.

Fifth Offense:

Upon the fifth conviction, you will be fined $2,000 - $50,000 and imprisoned for a period of 2.5 years – 5 years. The prison term may not be suspended or reduced below 24 months. Your license will be permanently revoked and may never be reinstated. On the fifth offense, the vehicle may be subject to civil forfeiture.

Work/Education Hardship License:

When applying for a work or education hardship license, you have to show that you have successfully completed a treatment program. This license will allow you to drive for 12 hours a day. The court will order the attachment of an ignition interlock device to your car.

General Hardship License:

When applying for a general hardship license, you have to show that the causes of your previous violation have “been dealt with.” The court will order the attachment of an ignition interlock device to your car for the remainder of the period of suspension.

Other Fees:

In addition to any fine imposed by the court, two administrative fines are automatically attached to any conviction. A $250 fine is paid to the government, $125 of which goes to the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund. Another $50 is paid to the Victims of Drunk Driving Trust Fund.

DUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury:

A serious bodily injury is one that creates a substantial risk of death or results in the total disability or loss of some bodily function for a substantial period of time. This is punishable by imprisonment for 2.5 – 10 years and a fine of up to $5,000. The offender’s license will also be suspended for two years from the date of conviction.

DUI with a Passenger Under 14:

Conviction on the charge of endangering a minor will increase the penalty by $1,000 - $5,000 and 90 days – 2.5 years in prison. If the driver has a previous conviction for violating this subsection, the fine is $5,000 - $10,000 and between 6 months and 2.5 years in prison.

Under 21:

If you are under the age of 21 and driving with a blood alcohol level of .02 - .08, the court will suspend your license for a period of 30 days.

Under 18:

If you are under the age of 18 and driving with a BAC of between .02-.04, your license will be suspended for 1 year (may be reduced to 180 days if you enroll in and complete the Youth Alcohol Program).

If you are under 18 and driving with a BAC of over .06, the court will suspend your license for an addition 90 days.

Open Container Law:

It is illegal to possess an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of the car. The fine for this is between $100 - $500.