DUI Laws in Massachusetts: What You Need to Know
Even if it is accidental, it is considered a crime in Massachusetts to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. This is for various reasons, most relating to the safety of oneself and others. The consequences of breaking this law can be quite high. Fortunately, there are ways to combat DUI charges if you believe you were wrongly accused or you think they are being too harsh. Before even considering fighting a DUI charge, you need to know what the laws are and what this accusation means for you.
Drugged and drunk driving charges generally lie on a spectrum. The severity of the charge can be anything from a misdemeanor to a felony, although some cases are thrown out of court because of lack of evidence and other such things. When using the term “offense,” the speaker generally means the number of times the accused has been convicted of a particular crime. If you have only been charged one time, it is your first offense. If you have been charged three times previously, this is your fourth offense. That distinction will have bearing on the severity of your charge.
Fines and Jail Time
Being convicted of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol almost always ends in fines, jail time, or both. The amount of money one has to pay increases with each offense, as does the amount of time one must spend in jail. A first offender may only need to pay a fine, but a fifth offense is almost always grounds for maximum jail time. Of course, a competent attorney can negotiate a plea deal, a reduced charge, or even a reduced sentence, such as community service instead of jail time. The important thing to remember is that you will most likely be required to pay a fine no matter what degree your charge is.
Suspension of License
This is another certainty in a DUI case. If you are convicted, you will probably lose your license for anywhere from a few days to five years, depending on the severity of your charge. This is not usually negotiable unless your attorney manages to get the charge dropped or lessened to something other than a DUI. You can discuss negotiations with your attorney to see whether any of these will apply to you.