If you’ve been charged with an OUI and it’s your First Offense, you’re not alone.
First Offense OUIs are the most commonly seen cases in the district courts of Massachusetts.
First Offense DUI OUI Lawyer Boston
Facing this kind of charge doesn’t make you a bad person—people from all walks of life, all occupations and all lifestyles get charged with Operating Under the Influence. While you may feel differently right now, hope is not lost. You have rights and you have options. Whether your case boils down to a poor decision, a mistake, a misunderstanding or the police just simply got it all wrong, we are prepared to protect and defend your legal rights.
Our firm practices 100% DUI defense. Our experience in both defending and prosecuting OUI cases gives us the advantage.
Submit A Free Case Evaluation or call (508) 930-4273 24/7 to speak to Attorney Higgins directly for free.
How we handle your case will depend on your particular situation. The facts of your case are obviously important, but there are a number of other factors that have to be taken into account when formulating a plan of action: i.e. life circumstances, employment considerations, financial impact and transportation concerns. That being said, if you are facing a First Offense OUI, your options are two-fold:
Challenge the charge that has been brought against you. This option involves going back to court, putting the government to their burden of proof, filing motions against the admissibility of evidence, and in most instances, exercising your constitutional right to a trial—all in an effort to obtain you a Not Guilty verdict. If you fight the case and win, upon order of the court your driver’s license will be reinstated subject to a $500 reinstatement fee at the Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you fight the case and lose, you will receive practically the same sentence that you would have received if you elected to Plea/Admit to the charge. The only difference is that a loss at trial will result in a conviction.
Obtaining a non-conviction resolution to your case without going to trial. If you elect this option, you can expect the following:
• Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), a probationary period of 1-year. This disposition is not a conviction.
• Entry into a 16-week First Offender’s Alcohol Education Program that meets once a week.
• 45-90 day license loss. If you refused the Breath Test, this suspension will be tacked on to your 180-day refusal suspension.
• $1380 in Statutory/Probationary Fees. We can get you set up on a payment plan.
• Eligibility for a 12-hour, 7 days a week, Hardship Driver’s License. We will assist you in obtaining this license from the RMV
Step 1: An “arraignment” is your first formal appearance in court. When you get to the courthouse, the first thing you need to do is report to the Probation Department.
Step 2: Once you’re there, you will meet with a Probation Officer and they will ask you a series of biographical questions. They ask you these questions so that
(1) they can run your criminal record, and;
(2) they can assess your eligibility for a court-appointed lawyer.
Step 3: Once you’ve completed this process, you will be directed to the First Session/Main Session courtroom, where you will wait for your case to be called. When your case is called, the Clerk will read off the complaint and enter pleas of Not Guilty on your behalf.
Step 4: The judge will then continue your case to a date for a “Pre-Trial Conference.”
Step 5: Depending on the facts of your case and your criminal record, you may have to post an amount of bail.
Submit A Free Case Evaluation or call (508) 930-4273 24/7 to discuss your situation with Attorney Higgins for free.
The law for a First Offense OUI can be somewhat complicated and difficult to read. To serve as a resource, below is complete summary of the potential penalties associated with a First Offense OUI. This summary is derived directly from Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24—the Massachusetts OUI law. Should you have any questions please call (508) 930-4273 to speak with Attorney Higgins now.
First Offense OUI Penalties: A First Offense OUI is technically punishable by up to 2.5 years in the House of Correction; $500-$5,000 fine, or both. Most First Offense OUIs, however, result in the Alternative Disposition provided for by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D:
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D Alternative Disposition: Up to 2 years of probation with a condition that you complete a driver alcohol education program. 45-90 Day License Loss. If your OUI resulted in serious personal injury or death to another you are not eligible for this disposition. NOTE: AS DISCUSSED ABOVE, THIS IS THE MOST COMMON OUTCOME FOR A FIRST OFFENSE OUI.
First Offense OUI Fees and Fines: $65/month Probation Service Fee; $250 Head Injury Assessment; $50 Victims of Drunk Driving Fee; $250 Probation 24D Program Fee; Driver Alcohol Education Program Fee (amount to be determined by the Department of Public Health, but presently $567.22).
First Offense OUI License Loss: Unless the defendant receives the Alternative Disposition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D which provides for a license loss of between 45 and 90 days, 1 year (12-Hour Hardship License eligibility 3 months after conviction)
Additional Breath Test-Related License Loss:
• If you are above the age of 21 and refused the Breath Test: 180 Days
• If you are under the age of 21 and refused the Breath Test: 3 Years
• If you are above the age of 21 and failed the Breath Test (+ 0.08): 30 Days
• If you are under the age of 21, took the Breath Test and produced a reading of 0.02 or greater: 30 days plus an additional 180 days, for a total of 210 days.
NOTE: ANY LICENSE LOSS ASSOCIATED WITH A CONTINUANCE WITHOUT A FINDING OR A CONVICTION WILL RUN CONSEQUTIVELY TO ANY BREATH TEST REFUSAL SUSPENSION. THERE ARE NO HARDSHIP LICENSES FOR THESE TYPES OF SUSPENSIONS.
Hardship License Requirements: Upon entry into the 24D Driver Alcohol Education Program, you can apply for a hardship license during your 45-90 day license loss. If you did not receive the Alternative Disposition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D and suffered a 1-year license loss, you can apply for a hardship license 3 months after the disposition of your case.
Frequently Asked Questions: First Offense OUI
The Registry of Motor Vehicles does not issue Hardship (or commonly referred to as “Cinderella”) Licenses for Breath Test Refusal or Failure Suspensions. A resolution to your case and entry into the First Offender’s Alcohol Education Program is necessary for you to be eligible for a Hardship License.
“CWOF” stands for Continuance Without a Finding. This is the most common disposition for First Offense OUIs that do not go to trial. It is a non-conviction resolution to the charge. In order to obtain a CWOF, you must make an “admission to sufficient facts” to warrant a finding of guilty, but instead of asking the court to find you guilty, you are asking the court to continue your case without making a finding for a period of probation. If you successfully complete probation, the case will be dismissed at the end of your probationary period. While a CWOF is not a conviction, it does count as a prior offense if you are ever charged with an OUI again.
If you refused the breath test and this is your first offense, your license is suspended for a period of 180 days. You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to appeal this suspension at the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Boston. The appeal is called a “Chemical Test Refusal (CTR)” Hearing. There are three issues you can challenge at this hearing: 1) Whether the police officer have reasonable grounds to believe you were OUI; 2) Whether you were placed under arrest; and 3) Whether you refused the Breath Test.
Once you are arraigned there will be an entry on your record indicating that you have been charged with a crime. This entry will remain on your record regardless of the outcome of your case. You can, however, at a later date petition the court to have the record of this charge sealed.
A First Offense OUI is not a felony; it is a misdemeanor. Whether you have to disclose it to a prospective employer will depend upon where you fall in the application process and how the question is posed.
Aggressive Massachusetts DUI Defense Attorney Joseph Higgins
269 Hanover Street, Building One
Hanover, MA 02339
800 Turnpike St, Suite 300
North Andover, MA 01845
One Boston Place, Suite 2600
Boston, MA 02108