The standard penalties for a first DUI / OUI conviction in Massachusetts are as follows:
- Up to 2.5 years in jail
- Up to a 1-year suspension of your driver’s license
- $500-$5,000 in fines
In practice, these penalties are generally reduced for first offenders, who are often sentenced under section 24D of the Massachusetts OUI statute. These alternative sentencing guidelines typically involve:
- Lower total fines ($1380.00)
- Alcohol education and probation in place of jail time
- An abbreviated, 45-90 day driver’s license suspension
- Continuance Without a Finding (and dismissal with no conviction following the completion of probation requirements)
Monetary costs of a DUI are significant but may have less impact on your life than jail time or the loss of your ability to drive. Still, the OUI / DUI fines are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the financial impact of a conviction.
Other Monetary Costs of a DUI / OUI in MA
If convicted, court-imposed OUI and DUI fines in the range of $500 to $5,000 will be left to the court’s discretion. This can be expensive, but fines aren’t the only financial costs of a DUI / OUI in Massachusetts. Additional mandatory fees can include:
- Reinstatement fees for your Massachusetts driver’s license. ($500-$1000)
- Enrollment fee for the 24D Driver Alcohol Education Program (Approximately $860.00 )
- Head injury assessment fee ($250)
- Monthly probation service fees ($65 per month)
- Mandatory payment towards Victims of Drunk Driving
- Costs of legal representation during the court case
- Other potential civil assessments or fines related to the case
Beyond mandatory expenses, there are also many less obvious costs of a DUI / OUI. For example, consider these costs related to a loss of driving privileges:
- Vehicle towing, impoundment, or storage fees
- Alternative transportation costs during license suspension
- Elevated automotive insurance premiums
- Lost income from court appearance dates or inability to drive (especially if your job involves driving)
Thousands of dollars are at stake in any given Massachusetts OUI case. An experienced OUI attorney can help you plan to address, mitigate, or (in some cases) avoid these costs. It may even be possible for your attorney to gain you access to an affordable payment plan to help you resolve the costs over time.
Other Personal Costs of your First DUI / OUI
There are non-monetary costs to consider as well. Every OUI / DUI in Massachusetts carries the risk of jail time, although probation is most common for a first offense.
Unless the case is thrown out or dismissed, it’s wise to anticipate at least a few months of total license suspension time. Even on the low end, citizens charged with OUI must consider the automatic 30-day suspension for failing a breathalyzer (or 180 days for refusing the test) and a separate 45-90 day court-imposed suspension even if they agree to a CWOF and alternative disposition (and are never convicted of a crime).
The total length of time you’ll be without your license depends on many factors. Don’t forget that your license will not be returned automatically after the suspension period is over, either; you’ll have to take steps to apply for license reinstatement.
Finally, a first DUI / OUI conviction will stay on your permanent criminal record for life. Even a CWOF can affect you in the long term since the Massachusetts RMV considers a CWOF a first offense on your permanent driving record.
These potentially long-lasting costs of a DUI / OUI can have both financial and intangible impact on your day-to-day life. Retain an experienced OUI attorney to discuss your case’s facts and learn how best to minimize the risks and costs of a DUI in Massachusetts.