If you’ve been charged with drunk driving and you have a prior conviction or CWOF on an OUI case, you will have to make some decisions on how you want to proceed. Should you fight the charges or plead guilty? The penalty and negative impact on your life for a conviction go up significantly.
Most of the time, I recommend fighting the case in court for a variety of reasons. Particularly if you refused to take a breathalyzer test, these cases are winnable. And if you lose, the downside isn’t that significant compared with just accepting a 2nd offense conviction in a plea. And I win these cases at least two-thirds of the time.
I can help walk you through the pros & cons of fighting or pleading a second offense case.
If you call me for a free consultation, I’ll be able to give you specific advice based on the facts of your specific case and situation in your life.
Any OUI arrest is traumatic and stressful. I’ll do everything I can to help you beat the case, or work out a deal you and your family can live with.
Second Offense OUI Laws & Penalties
A second offense OUI charge in Massachusetts is still a misdemeanor offense, but you are facing more serious penalties, that can include:
- Jail, for a term or not less than 60 days (at least 30 days served), and not more then 2 1/2 years.
- Fines up to a maximum of $10,000
- A License suspension for 2 years, with no eligibility for a general hardship license for 1 year (4 year wait for hardship eligibility if you refused the breath test).
More typically, a minimum alternative disposition can be negotiated for
- 2 Years Probation
- A two week in-patient (confined) alcohol treatment & education program , at your expense.
- As of 1/1/06, installation of an ignition interlock device for 2 years (at your expense).
- Thousands of dollars in fines.
- A License suspension for 2 years, with no eligibility for a hardship license for 1 year (4 years total wait for eligibility if you refused the breath test).
Should I fight a 2nd Offense OUI Charge?
For most people, it makes sense to fight the charges in a trial. Even the minimum penalties allowed by law can be harsh, and expensive.
The two week inpatient alcohol program isn’t jail, but it also isn’t exactly a vacation. It often makes sense to try to beat the charges at trial, keep the conviction off your criminal record, and avoid the fines, penalties, and license suspension. Pleading it out won’t get you back on the road quickly either, since you aren’t eligible for a 12 hour a day hardship license for 3 years (thanks to Melanie’s Law). And with Melanie’s Law, you are facing a required ignition interlock device in your car for at least 2 years when your license is finally reinstated.
So there are lots of good reasons to try to avoid a second offense DUI conviction on your record. For most people, the downside to fighting it may be much smaller than the upside to beating it outright.
And winning OUI trials is what I do. I work hard researching the latest technical and legal defense techniques, and I pride myself at aggressively defending my clients rights. And the results show it, as I win OUI trials more than two thirds of the time.
If you are ready to fight back, then I am the lawyer for you. Here are some details of how I fight OUI charges.
When does it make sense to plead guilty on a Second Offense OUI?
Generally speaking, it makes sense for some people to plead guilty if they can get a first offense penalty. This mostly only applies if:
- The court can’t prove the prior offense took place; or
- The prior offense is over 10 years old and you can argue for a Second Chance 24D Disposition.
What is a Second Chance “24 D” OUI Disposition?
In cases where the prior offense is over ten years old, you can often get treated as a first offender and only have to face the 1st offense penalties. This is known as a 24D “Second Chance” Disposition. If this applies to you, I can help work out the best possible deal. I’ll file the proper motion in court, and plead the case before a judge.
Not every judge will agree to the motion, but most will. I’ll fight to get you this result and be an advocate on your behalf.
Even with a “second chance” where the court gives you the first offense penalty, the Registry will unfortunately still treat you like a 2nd offender. You will be eligible for a hardship license, but you’ll have to get an ignition interlock device installed in your car.
You can call me anytime to talk about your case. An attorney who doesn’t handle OUI cases all the time may not be familiar with all the procedures and laws that can be used in your defense. In a second offense OUI, you need an attorney with the right experience to give you the best representation You need an attorney who knows the law and can make sure your rights are protected, whether you want to fight the charges at trial or just want to work out the best possible deal.
Call me now for a free consultation at (781) 380-7730, and I’ll let you know exactly what I can do to help.
Sincerely, Russell Matson, Attorney at Law
Call The Law Offices of Russell Matson to talk to an attorney anytime at (781) 380-7730.