While the common term in everyday parlance to refer to drunk driving is often DUI, for driving under the influence, the technical legal term in the state of Massachusetts is “operating under the influence, or OUI. That’s the charge that drivers suspected of drunk driving face when arrested by the police. Here’s what you should know about OUI laws in the state of Massachusetts.
What is implied consent and when can officers request a field test?
The U.S. Constitution, as well as the Massachusetts State Constitution, offer legal protections to suspects in criminal cases. In the case of drivers suspected of violating OUI laws, though, there are special legal carve-outs called implied consent laws.
What the state’s implied consent laws basically mean is that if you are pulled over and the officer has a reasonable belief that you might be intoxicated, you do not have the legal right to refuse a breath or blood test. When you applied for your driver’s license, you agreed to submit to any testing as required by the police. Should you refuse a requested blood or breath test, your license will likely be suspended, and you could even have criminal charges related to the refusal.
What are the penalties for OUI?
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to OUI, you will lose your license for a year if it’s your first offense, for two years if it’s your second offense, and eight years if it’s your third. On the first offense, you might be able to reduce your license suspension period by taking an alcohol education course. Your vehicle may also be confiscated, or you might be required to install an ignition interlock device.
If you are convicted of OUI in Massachusetts, it’s essential that you comply with the terms of the court to avoid future legal issues. You also need to make sure the court respects your rights throughout the process.