Getting charged with a first offense OUI/DUI in Massachusetts means that, among other penalties, your driver’s license will be suspended. The length of that suspension depends on a few factors, though, as the particular circumstances surrounding your situation can and will affect how long your DUI license suspension will last.
How Long is a First Offense DUI License Suspension?
The OUI statute, G.L. ch. 90, section 24, dictates the length of a DUI/OUI license suspension. The length of your suspension will depend upon how many DUI/OUI you have had in the past. Here’s a breakdown of the average DUI/OUI license suspension for a first offender:
- Failing a breathalyzer test will result in a 30-day driver’s license suspension.
- Refusing a breathalyzer test will result in an immediate 180-day suspension of your driver’s license for a first offense.
- Being convicted of a first offense OUI/DUI in court will result in a one-year suspension of your driver’s license if you choose not to complete the alcohol class.
Other factors, like being under the age of 21, can add additional time to the suspensions listed above. But on average, those are statutory license suspensions for a first offense DUI license suspension.
Can You Shorten the Length of a License Suspension?
The short answer is no; you cannot shorten the length of an OUI suspension. However, in certain situations, you can become eligible for a hardship license during the suspension period. Many first OUI/DUI offenders in Massachusetts will be offered a Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF) deal, which is sometimes called an “alternative disposition” or “24D disposition.” Agreeing to this will mean admitting that there’s sufficient evidence to convict you, in which case you are waiving all your constitutional rights to a trial.
Instead of a conviction, however, you’ll be placed on probation and have to complete the alcohol class, stay out of criminal trouble for one year and pay all the statutory fines, usually totaling $1380.00.
The license loss associated with a CWOF/24D Disposition is 45-90 days. If you refused the breathalyzer test, Massachusetts law dictates that this 45-90 day suspension is added on top of the 180-day suspension you were given upon refusing the test. In this instance, you can apply for a hardship license during the entire 180 plus 45-90 days. You can apply for the hardship license through the Registry of Motor Vehicles as long as you sign up for the alcohol program and demonstrate the need for a hardship license.
How to Fight the Charge
The best and most surefire way to shorten the length of a DUI license suspension is to defeat the charges in court. To do that, however, you’re going to need to work with an experienced, and preferably local, DUI attorney.
For example, if you were charged in Plymouth County in Massachusetts, you will want to work with a Plymouth County attorney who knows the area, the judges, the police officers who operate there, and the Plymouth County court system. Ultimately, the more experience your attorney has in the area your trial is occurring in, the better equipped they’ll be to help you get a verdict of Not Guilty.