OUI, DUI, and DWI are all acronyms that refer to the offense commonly known as “drunk driving.” Different states have different names for the crime. Massachusetts law prohibits operating a motor vehicle “while under the influence,” so while DUI and DWI are popular acronyms for drinking and driving, Massachusetts refers to this criminal act as OUI or Operating Under the Influence. If you or someone you know has recently been arrested for OUI in Massachusetts, you’ll want to understand the laws to better prepare yourself for the potential penalties or any viable defenses.
In Massachusetts, a person can be charged with OUI if they provide a chemical test to police and their blood alcohol content (BAC) is found to be .08% or higher. With a BAC at or above this amount, a person can be arrested for OUI under a “per se” violation. In plain terms, this violation means that a person can be charged with OUI simply because their BAC is over the legal limit. The most common means of providing a chemical test is the breathalyzer machine. In court, the prosecution will not have to provide any other proof of being under the influence if they can prove your BAC was .08%. However, the prosecutor must prove that the reading of the breathalyzer machine was accurate and reliable.
In Massachusetts, every holder of a Massachusetts driver’s license has consented to providing a breath sample or a blood sample if they are suspected of OUI. This is called the Implied Consent Law. Although the police cannot physically force you to submitting to a chemical test, the consequences for refusing are harsh. Depending on your criminal history, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for six months to life.
If you would like a free consultation about your case, please call (617) 723-7200.
Mark D. Donovan, Esq.