DUI & DWI in Massachusetts
Compare Insurance Rates in 3 Easy Steps
1. Start Your Quote:
In Massachusetts, OUI―Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol―is a serious criminal offense. You can expect to have your license suspended, pay a major fine and even spend time in jail for your first offense. It gets much worse for subsequent offenses.
And then there's the insurance surcharges. Remember that in Massachusetts, any moving violation or accident will end up costing you mandated surcharges on your auto insurance.
So you're clearly better off with a designated driver. But in case you need it, here's a guide to OUI laws in Massachusetts.
You may want to read the Summary of Melanie's Law, which made Massachusetts OUI penalties stricter and strengthened the OUI laws in our state.
In Massachusetts, if you register a blood-alcohol content of 0.08% or higher, you are going to be arrested for OUI. If you're younger than 21, which is the legal age for drinking in Massachusetts, you will face administrative penalties if you test at 0.02% or higher, plus standard charges at 0.08% or higher.
Per the state's stance on Chemical Test Refusals, if you refuse a chemical breath test or a blood-alcohol test, the arresting officer can take away your license on the spot.
The penalties for OUI in Massachusetts are substantial and will hit your ability to drive and your pocketbook, and perhaps even give you jail time, depending on the seriousness of the offense and whether you are a repeat offender.
Here's a round-up of mandatory OUI penalties in Massachusetts. You can find further information in Chapter 2 of the Massachusetts Driver's Manual.
- Fine: $500 to $5,000
- Jail: No minimum to 2.5 years
- Driver's license suspension: 180 Days if You are over 21
Drivers arrested for a first OUI offense can get their sentences reduced by agreeing to complete a state-approved alcohol education program. This is not an option after the first offense.
- Fine: $600 to $10,000
- Jail: 30 days to 2.5 years
- Driver's license suspension: two years
Third Offense (felony)
- Fine: $1,000 to $15,000
- Jail: 150 days to five years
- Suspension: eight years
Fourth Offense (felony)
- Fine: $1,500 to $25,000
- Jail: one to five years
- Suspension: 10 years
Fifth Offense (felony)
- Fine: $20,000 to $50,000
- Jail: two to five years
- Suspension: lifetime
It will cost you thousands of dollars if arrested for a first OUI offense. A lot more after that.
Expect to pay any or all of the following costs for a first offense:
- Towing: $100
- Minimum Conviction Fine: $500
- License Suspension Reinstatement Fee: $500
- Magistrate Nighttime Bail Fee: $50
- Court costs: $250
- Attorney fees: $5,000
NOTE: This is not an all-inclusive list. Depending on your situation, you could face additional fines and surcharges.
So you're looking at about $6,000+ minimum for a first offense and that doesn't include lost work time, transportation costs, or the cost of alcohol counseling, if mandated by the court.
With so much money at stake for even an initial conviction, it makes sense to consider hiring an attorney with solid experience trying OUI cases in the community where you will go before a judge. There are a lot of attorneys out there looking for OUI cases, so you should take some time and get recommendations for someone who can really help you.
If you're charged with a first OUI offense, you can reduce your sentence by agreeing to complete a state-approved Driver Alcohol Education Program (DAEP).
The program, run by state-approved outside groups, consists of an intake assessment, 32 hours of group meetings over 16 weeks, exposure to self-help groups through attending two meetings in your community, and a victim-impact presentation with speakers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Expect to pay about $600 for the course.
Other Topics in This Section
Your Opinion Matters To Us!Send Feedback
- Federal Agency Stirring Around the Idea of Lowering BAC Limit to .05 Percent
- Traffic Ticket and DUI Penalties for Commercial Drivers
- Need Legal Help? Tips on Hiring a DUI Attorney
- Fines, Jail Time, Suspended License: DUI and DWI Bring Steep Penalties
- Were You Drunk Driving? DUI and DWI Explained
- Find Out How Much DUI and DWI Convictions Really Cost
We put a lot of effort into making our content helpful & accurate. Please let us know if you see something that isn't clear or correct; we are here to ease any frustrations you may have while navigating DMV topics. We are not a government agency, please reach out to your local DMV, insurance agent, or respective professional for further assistance on specific situations.