Operating Under the Influence of Liquor: Understanding the Charge

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90 Section 24 is the statute that prohibits operating a motor vehicle EITHER under the influence of liquor OR while having a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 or greater. In order for you to be convicted of violating this law, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) you operated a motor vehicle (2) on a public way OR in a place where the public had access as invitees or licensees OR in a place where the public had a right of access (3) while under the influence of alcohol.

In determining whether you were under the influence of alcohol, the jury can consider the weight of breath or blood tests. It is the prosecutor's job to prove the reliability of the test results. The jury can consider a number of factors such as: the procedures that were used, the time at which the test was given, the qualifications or credibility of the person who gave the test, and whether the machine was working properly when the test was given. The jury can also consider field sobriety tests and whether or not such tests were a good indicator of whether or not you were under the influence. You can be convicted of an OUI even if alcohol was only one cause of your weakened ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Alcohol doesn't need to be the only cause.

If you have been charged with this offense, you face a mandatory revocation of your license. If you are convicted, the registrar will immediately revoke your license for one year. You will also face fines of up to $5,000 and a prison term of up to 2 and a half years. For a second conviction, your license will be revoked for two years and you will face fines up to $10,000 and a 30-day to 2 and a half year prison term.

Massachusetts OUI laws for persons under the legal drinking age are even more severe. The legal blood alcohol content limit (BAC) for drivers under the age of 21 is only 0.02 instead of 0.08. If you are arrested for an OUI and you are under the age of 18, you face a 1 year license loss in addition to other suspensions and a $100 reinstatement fee. If you are arrested for an OUI and you are under the age of 21, you face a 180-day license loss in addition to other suspensions and a $100 reinstatement fee.

It is essential that you contact an experienced OUI defense attorney like Francis T. O'Brien Jr if you have been charged with this crime. In his 20-plus years of experience, Attorney O'Brien has won 90 percent of cases that proceeded to trial. He is one of the leading OUI attorneys in Boston, and he will work relentlessly in your defense. Call him today at 617-512-0939.