Second DUI Charge in Massachusetts

Facing a second DUI charge in Massachusetts is a stressful experience. Massachusetts has some of the harshest penalties for DUI/OUI convictions in the country, and as a result, any DUI conviction could lead to jail time. 

However, most second DUI cases do not involve jail time. Instead, they often result in an “alternative disposition,” which will usually include probation but no time in jail.  If you’re facing a second DUI charge, then you probably have questions. Here are a few answers:

Potential Penalties for 2nd DUI in Massachusetts

While the penalties for a 2nd DUI can vary depending on the circumstances of your case, the maximum consequences for a 2nd offense DUI in Massachusetts can include:

  • A fine between $600 to $10,000
  • 60 days to 2.5 years in jail
  • Two-year driver’s license suspension

If you refused a breathalyzer test, then your administrative driver's license suspension will be for three years, rather than two. If you did take the breathalyzer test and failed, your license will be suspended for 30 days if you're over 21 and had a BAC reading of 0.08 or higher. If you're under 21 and had a BAC of 0.02 or higher, then your license will be suspended for a total of 210 days. 

Unless there was severe injury or death involved, most 2nd offense DUI charges do not result in jail time. If your case ends with a “Guilty” verdict, most second offenders can agree to a Continuance Without Finding (CWOF). This will mean agreeing to a series of penalties and terms that will keep you out of prison (this is what the “alternative disposition” is). This will also keep your case from going to trial. 

If your prior offense was outside of 10 years then you may be eligible for first offender treatment again with a license loss of 45-90 days. However, if you refused to take the breath test at the time of the traffic stop then your case will still be treated as a second offense. This will entail a three-year license loss and you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock on your vehicle(s) for an extended period of time. 

A guilty verdict will also involve a shorter suspension of your license (usually a 45-90 day suspension, instead of 2-3 years), an alcohol safety course (the 24D program), and other penalties like curfews, regular alcohol tests, and community service. While agreeing to a Plea Deal usually means avoiding jail time, violating any of the agreed-upon terms may lead to time spent in jail. 

Building a Defense for Your Second DUI Charge

As you can imagine, the stakes are much higher for a second DUI offense than they are for a first offense. The penalties are stronger, and the potential long-term loss of your driver’s license can dramatically impact your way of life and affect your employment opportunities. 

For example, a second DUI offender whose prior charge was over ten years ago is often eligible for a “Cahill disposition,” which offers lenient penalties similar to those of a CWOF. Your attorney can also investigate the legality of the traffic stop that resulted in your DUI charge. 

Massachusetts has some of the longest jail time sentences for DUI charges in the country, so don’t take any chances and reach out to a DUI attorney right away and start building a defense.