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OUI/DUI/DWI

Boston, Massachusetts OUI Lawyer

In Massachusetts, the terms operating under the influence (OUI), driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) are synonymous. The official charge is Massachusetts is known as Operating Under the Influence (OUI). This charge is a criminal offense in which a person is found to be operating a vehicle after having ingested any alcoholic beverage or chemical substance which impairs their ability to drive safely. The passage of Melanie's Law in 2005 enhanced the penalties attached to OUI offenders in the state of Massachusetts. These laws may also be applied to those found to be in operation of a boat, aircraft, etc., which carry different blood alcohol contents than driving.

The field sobriety tests used by police officers out in the field in traffic stops consist mainly of the walk-and-turn test, the one-leg stand test, alcohol breath test, and horizontal gaze nystagmus test. These tests are used to supply an officer with 'probable cause' to arrest the driver on suspicion of OUI. On average, the government claims that these tests range from 83-91% reliable in establishing that a driver is in fact under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The walk-and-turn test requires an individual to first keep the arms at his or her side, and to place his or her feet heel to toe. Then the officer will instruct the instruct the individual to take nine heel-to-toe steeps, turn in a certain manner, then take nine heel-to-toe steps back. The walk-and-turn test also requires a physical test, in which the officer evaluates the individual's performance based upon certain cues including but not limited to whether the person lost balance, started too soon, stopped while walking, and touched heal to toe, etc. During this time the officer is looking for two or more indications of the persons intoxication which would constitute probable cause for the individual's arrest for OUI.

The one-leg stand is another test often employed by officers. This test requires an individual to stand with feet together, arms at their side and follow the officer's instructions. The person is commanded to raise one leg about six inches off the ground with toes pointed outward while keeping both legs straight. The person is then instructed to count out loud as long as the officer requests. There are four specific cues that the officer looks for during this test: any swaying while balancing, using the arms to balance, hopping, or putting a foot down during the test. If you put your foot down three or more times during the thirty-second period the police consider you unable to complete the test. If you have two or more cues you also fail the test.

The horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN) allows the officer to check for the involuntary jerking of the eye. Unlike other field sobriety tests, experts claim that this test is considered impossible for a person to conceal or compensate for in any way. The officer must observe the eye for three separate cues which pertain to eye movement for lack of smooth pursuit, nystagmus at maximum deviation, and the angle at which the onset of nystagmus occurs prior to forty-five degrees. Expert testimony is required in court.

In addition to these tests, if a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, some form of chemical test, such as breath, blood, or urine testing is required. While these tests are technically voluntary, refusal carries a possible penalty such as suspension of driving privileges. A Breathalyzer unit may be used, which is a small hand-held device that measures the driver's blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). This may be done roadside, at the detainment center, or at a hospital. Blood or urine tests can also be done at a hospital.

Pursuant to M.G.L.A. 90 § 24, a person may be found guilty of Operating Under the Influence (OUI) if they are:

  • At least 21, and
  • Register at .08% or higher when tested for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

If the person is younger than 21:

  • Administrative penalties will be imposed if they test at .02 or higher,
  • Plus standard charges at .08 or higher.

In OUI cases, the prosecution must prove:

  • The car was operated,
  • On a public way or area members of the public have a right of access to, and
  • The operator of the vehicle was under the influence of some intoxicant.

Summary of Penalties for OUI in Massachusetts

ConvictionFinePrison TermLicense Suspension
First Offense $500-$5,000Maximum 2.5 yearsOne Year
For your first offense the court may allow you to complete an alcohol education course to reduce your license suspension periodAge 21+ = 45-90 days
Less than 21 = 210 days
Second Offense $600-$10,000Minimum 30 days
Maximum 2.5 years
Two years
Third Offense
(Felony)
$1,000-$15,000Minimum 150 days
Maximum 5 years
Eight years
Fourth Offense
(Felony)
$1,500-$25,000Minimum One year
Maximum 5 years
Ten years
Fifth Offense
(Felony)
$2,000-$50,000Minimum Two years
Maximum 5 years
Lifetime Suspension

This information is assembled by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Contact an Aggressive Boston, Massachusetts OUI Attorney

If you are convicted of an OUI, the penalties can be harsh and include imprisonment, significant fines, and suspension of driver's license, probation, community service sentence, and mandatory enrollment in Driver Alcohol Education Program (DAEP). As a Boston OUI lawyer, Patrick J. Murphy is well versed and highly experienced in aggressively defending OUI cases. This legal experience gives the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy a competitive edge and the ability and understanding to help clients defend their rights and avoid these penalties. If you or someone you know is facing OUI charges, it is highly recommended that you seek qualified legal counsel, and with his thorough knowledge and expertise in the field, Boston OUI Attorney Murphy is the likely choice. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. today for a free and confidential legal consultation by calling (617) 367-0450 or completing the contacts tab on our website.

Client Reviews
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"Highly Recommended. Attorney Patrick J. Murphy absolutely helped me out in my time of need. When I met him in his Boston office he put me right at ease and explained the criminal process to me in a way I could easily understand and in a manner that gave me complete confidence. I was facing a criminal wanton destruction of property charge in Barnstable District Court. On the day of the case, he was at the courthouse waiting for me and my wife. Mr. Murphy handled the hearing in a very thorough and professional manner putting us through our testimony and making a powerful argument to the decision maker. My case was thrown out and I could not be happier with the service from Attorney Murphy. I highly recommend him to you as a skilled legal advocate!" Rob, Avvo User
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"Excellent Criminal Defense Lawyer. From the first consultation I knew Patrick Murphy was the right choice for my criminal defense. He was knowledgeable of the laws and knew how to build up a strong defense for my case. Every phone call and email I made was promptly answered. When it came time for my hearing, Patrick was prepared and able to get the criminal complaint against me dropped without ever becoming charge! Would highly recommend this attorney to anyone seeking a top quality defense attorney to handle their case!" John, Avvo User
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"OUI Not Guilty Verdict. Patrick Murphy provided excellent service as council on my case. He worked diligently over a long legal process that spanned over 3 years. He was able to take my case to a Jury Trial and get me a Not Guilty verdict through he expert knowledge of the law and expertise in cross examination of the prosecutions witnesses. He was very professional and available at anytime night or day to answer questions." Chris, Avvo User
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"Highly Skilled and Professional Lawyer. Attorney Pat Murphy did a great job guiding me through an A&B charge, and most importantly getting the case dismissed in a very timely manner. He is very professional, returns call promptly, and did a great explaining his strategy and the legal process to me. I was confident throughout the whole process that I was in good hands and would receive the best possible outcome in my case. Would highly recommended Attorney Murphy." Avvo User
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"I Felt That I was in Good Hands... and I Was! Mr. Patrick J. Murphy was very quick to respond to my needs. He was always there to answer any questions I had in a timely fashion, and he made me feel very comfortable in an extremely uncomfortable situation. Having Mr. Murphy by my side in the courtroom felt like I was at an advantage. He speaks with confidence. He doesn't stutter or pause while put on the spot. He treated me with respect. He listens. He always greeted me with a warm welcome and never wasted any time." Avvo User