This is a guest post from a fellow a Boston DUI attorney, Jason Chan.
Every state has its own laws and Massachusetts has its own DUI or driving while under the influence of alcohol laws. It is good to know the Massachusetts’ DUI laws not only to compare to your own state’s DUI laws, but in case you get pulled over in the state of Massachusetts. Every year thousands of visitors flock to Massachusetts whether it is to enjoy the beaches on the cape, watch the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry at Fenway, or learn about our country’s history such as Paul Revere’s ride. If you think about it, most people don’t get arrested on cocaine trafficking charges or sexual assaults especially if they are only visiting the state for a short period of time. However, it is very common for anyone including visitors to the state of Massachusetts to get arrested for DUI.
Now that you understand why it is important to at least have a basic knowledge of the Massachusetts DUI laws, let’s discuss what is most important to people. The first question that most people want to know is what are the possible penalties that they can face. The penalties for a Massachusetts DUI depend on the number of DUIs people have had before. For a first offense DUI in Massachusetts people can face up to 2 ½ years in jail. It is considered a misdemeanor and the jail time can be served on weekends, evenings and holidays. In addition to a jail penalty, for a first offense DUI, people could face a fine from $500 to $5,000. The court doesn’t need to give people both jail time and a fine, but has the option to penalize them with both.
For a first offense DUI, people could also be sentenced to the alternate 90,24D sentence. Under the alternate sentence, people are placed on probation for 1 year and are required to complete the 90, 24D program and required to pay court fees and fines. Those who choose to accept the alternate sentence are able to avoid jail time.
The penalties for a DUI 2nd offense are much harsher. For a second offense DUI, the court requires people to serve at least 60 days in jail or up to 2 ½ years. Under the DUI laws, people are not eligible for parole or furlough until at least 30 days are completed. In addition to a mandatory jail time, the court could also impose a fine in the amount of at least $600 and up to $10,000. Even though a jail sentence is mandatory, the judge does have the discretion to not send people to jail if they agree to attend a 14 day in-patient program.
For DUI 3rd offenses and higher the court must impose a mandatory jail sentence. The mandatory amount of time that people need to serve prior to being release increases with the number of offenses. For people who are charged with their 3rd DUI or higher, there are no alternate programs, meaning the people must serve jail time.
With the severity of Massachusetts DUI penalty depending on the number of DUI offenses, it is important to know what is considered a previous DUI offense. Massachusetts uses the lifetime look back rule. That means that people could have a DUI when they were 18 and the offense will still count against them when they are 80 years old. Massachusetts will also look at people’s out of state records. Any DUIs on the out of state records will also count as a first offense. With each subsequent DUI it becomes more difficult to avoid jail time.
In the end, if you get arrested for a DUI, call a lawyer right away. Massachusetts takes DUI arrests and convictions very seriously. The risk is very high and it doesn’t make sense to try to do anything yourself.