OUI: Minors/Persons Under 21
The term OUI encompasses operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driving while intoxicated; the official charge in Massachusetts is referred to as OUI. Pursuant to Massachusetts M.G.L.A. 90 § 24, a minor (person under 21 years of age) may be charged with OUI if they register a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or higher. The laws regarding OUI offenses are particularly strict, as the Commonwealth seeks to protect minors and reduce the number of alcohol related deaths or injuries. In addition, the passage of Melanie’s Law in 2005 enhanced the penalties attached to OUI offenders in the state of Massachusetts. For drivers under the age of twenty-one, the Registry of Motor Vehicles imposes a strict zero-tolerance policy. This means that the Registry will consider a BAC of 0.02% as a failure of a breath test, and subject you to fines and penalties set forth by the Commonwealth. In crimes involving minors, the prosecution will attempt to exploit in an aggressive and paternalistic manner the minors’ inexperience and naiveté, which is why it is in your best interest to have a knowledgeable and experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney on your side to provide a skilled defense of all alcohol and drug related criminal offenses pertaining to minors and young college aged students.Penalties Attached
If you are under 21 years old and consent to a breath or chemical test, you are subject to:
- Administrative penalties for a BAC of 0.02%; and
- Standard OUI penalties for a BAC of 0.08% or higher.
Administrative penalties for registering a BAC of 0.02% generally include:
- 18-20 years old: License suspension for 30 days + 180 days under the Juvenile Operator Law
- Under 18: License suspension for 30 days + 1 year under the Juvenile Operator Law
- *In both cases, the additional 180 days may be waived if you enroll in the Youth Alcohol Program
- Mandatory Enrollment in the Youth Alcohol Program (YAP)
The standard OUI penalties for a first offense include the following:
- Fine: $500 to $5,000
- Incarceration: Zero to a maximum of 2.5 years
- Driver's license suspension: 1 year
Also, if you are between the ages of 18 and 21, you will be required to participate in a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) and serve an additional 180-day license suspension.
If you are under 18 and you are arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol, the penalties are further enhanced, and required you to serve an additional one-year suspension and attend the YAP program. If convicted of an OUI, you may still be eligible to obtain a hardship license, however, a judge might have some reservations and could opt to deny your application.Implied Consent Law/Refusal of Breath Test
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts follows what is known as the Implied Consent Law. Essentially, this means that by obtaining a driver’s license from any state in the United States, you impliedly consent to taking a field sobriety test, breath test or chemical test if requested by a law enforcement officer. If you under the age of 21 and refuse to submit to a breath or chemical test, you will automatically be subject to penalties including:
- License suspension for first offense: 3 years
- Suspension for Second Offense: 5 years
- Suspension for Third Offense: Lifetime
For more than 18 years, Attorney Patrick J. Murphy has focused exclusively on providing successful legal representation to criminal defendants – securing freedom and independence for hundreds of clients facing serious criminal charges throughout the Boston, Massachusetts area. If you have been charged with a crime in Boston or the surrounding area, contact Attorney Murphy today for a free and confidential assessment of your case. As a dedicated legal advocate, Attorney Murphy is available 24/7: call (617) 367-0450 now, or complete the contacts tab on our website.