There is a common misconception that a first OUI offense is somehow reduced in severity and that you will get away with a mere slap on the wrist. When it comes to an OUI in Massachusetts, however, this is far from the case. While a first offense may not see you facing serious jail time, there are nonetheless ongoing consequences that could have a real impact on the rest of your life.
What Punishment Will I Receive for A First Offense?
A first offense OUI can come with a range of potential punishments, and the most common include:
- Between 2 and 5 years of jail time
- A fine of between $500 and $5000
- The loss of your driver’s license for one year
In most cases, first-time offenders will not find themselves facing a jail sentence unless the accident in question results in the victim’s death or severe injury.
In situations where this is not applicable, most drivers will be offered an Alternative Disposition. This includes a probation period of up to two years, along with the requirement to complete a driver alcohol education program. In some cases, the driver may also have a temporary loss of license for between 45 and 90 days. If an Alternative Disposition is offered, a fine will not usually be applicable.
What Are the Financial Costs of An OUI?
Even if there are no direct fines, there are nevertheless fees and costs resulting from getting a DUI. These typically include:
- A probation service fee of around $65 per month
- A probation program fee of $250
- A Driver Alcohol Education Program fee of approximately $707
- A $250 head injury assessment
- A $50 Victims of Drunk Driving fee
- A license reinstatement fee of $500-$1000
In addition to fees and fines, drivers can also lose out financially through court appearances – these can require taking off work, usually unpaid – or even losing income if you lose your job. The latter can be a genuine possibility if your job involves driving and a clean license. Depending on the nature of the accident, there may also be costs for vehicle impounding, towing and storage, the cost of alternative transportation if you are unable to drive, and the likelihood of increased auto insurance premiums.
What About the Non-Financial Consequences?
In addition to the possibility of punishment via a fine, loss of license, or even jail time, an OUI can also have non-tangible impacts on your everyday life. You may find that your friendships and relationships are adversely impacted, or that your reputation is damaged. Your working position may become precarious, and it can be tricky to access jobs. In some cases, a blight on your criminal record will have implications for your future; you may struggle to get into college or access specific financial aid, and a job with high-security clearance may become out of your reach.