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Drunk Driving Defense Laws in Massachusetts

Massachusetts residents who have been pulled over and arrested on drunk driving charges could face a wide variety of punishments if they are convicted. Depending on the nature of your arrest, and how many times you have been convicted of drunk driving in the past, those punishments could range from light to severe. For this reason, many individuals accused of drunk driving choose to assert various criminal defenses in court to try and reduce and/or eliminate the threat of punishment in their cases.

OUI Laws in Massachusetts

Drivers are considered to be too drunk to legally drive in Massachusetts if their blood alcohol levels tested at 0.8 percent or more. Drivers under the age 21 are subjected to even stricter limitations and they are considered too drunk to drive if their blood alcohol content is only 0.2 percent. Like other states, in Massachusetts, if the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration hits 0.20 percent, he or she will be vulnerable to stiffer penalties and punishments in the event of a conviction.

Penalties for Massachusetts OUI Convictions

After a first-time drunk driving conviction, the minimum period for a license suspension in Massachusetts is one year, but this time period can often be reduced after completing an alcohol education course. After a second OUI conviction, the minimum license suspension is for two years. After a third conviction, the minimum is eight years. Those convicted of OUI will also have to complete an alcohol education, assessment, and treatment program. Repeat offenders will be required to install an ignition interlock device, requiring the driver to blow into a breath test device before one can start an automobile.

A Massachusetts OUI attorney may be able to help you avoid some of the above-listed punishments by asserting various OUI defenses on your behalf in court. If you have been accused of drunk driving, you may wish to consult with a private attorney to evaluate the seriousness of your legal situation and the best pathways to take in the litigation of your case.

Defenses Against OUI Convictions in Massachusetts 

There are a number of common defenses that you might choose to employ against a Massachusetts drunk driving charge. In some cases, you may be able to show that the arresting officer did not pull you over with justifiable cause. If the police officer cannot show a valid reason for pulling you over, it could serve to invalidate the OUI charges that were later brought against you. In other cases, a criminal defense attorney might try to show that the field sobriety, breathalyzer, urine, or blood test that was administered to you was inaccurate or was administered in a manner that did not conform with the law. This could serve to get test evidence deemed as inadmissible, and that would severely hinder the prosecution’s ability to convict you.

There is another type of OUI defense that has to do with rising blood alcohol concentration. The basic premise of this OUI defense has to do with the fact that an individual could drink alcohol, immediately get behind the wheel of an automobile and safely drive before all the alcohol hits his or her system. In other words, it may be possible for an officer to pull an individual over while he or she is sober enough to drive, but when the field sobriety and breathalyzer tests are administered, the principle of rising blood-alcohol concentration might result in the previously sober driver testing as too drunk to drive.