DUI Penalties in Massachusetts

Is There A Difference Between A “DUI” And An “OUI”?

No! The initials “OUI” stand for “operating under the influence” of alcohol. The initials “DUI” represent “driving under the influence” of alcohol. There is NO difference between the two charges—they are like synonyms. Although the general public often refers to this type of charge as a “DUI” the technically correct reference is “OUI” as “Operating Under The Influence” is the term used by the Massachusetts statute.

Massachusetts DUI penalties are governed by two statutes: M.G.L. ch. 94 sec. 24 and M.G.L. ch. 94 sec. 24D. The latter statute (24D disposition) is known as the alternative program and is designed as a more forgiving, rehabilitative measure. The 24D program is available for 1st time offenders or to people who had a conviction more than ten years from the date of the present charge.

  1. For 1st time offenders

    • A fine of at least $500.00 to as much as $5,000.00 dollars
    • Up to 2 1/2 years in the house of correction.
    • Sentences may be served weekends, evenings and holidays
    • 1 year loss of license

  2. The 24D (alternative) disposition

    • Probation of not more than 2 years
    • Enrollment in an alcohol treatment program
    • Loss of license for a minimum 45 days and a maximum of 90 days
    • If you are under the age of 21 there is a 210 day loss of license
    • If you are under the age of 21 and you have a blood alcohol content of .20 or greater you will be assigned to a 14 day in-patient alcohol treatment facility
    • A 24D disposition is available even if you go to trial and are convicted
    • A 24D disposition is not available in cases where there is death or serious personal injury

  3. Individuals facing a first time offense usually have the option of disposing of the case short of trial with a “continuance without a finding” [“CWOF”]. This disposition is generally reserved for case in which a defendant does not have any record, has a minor record and there was no accident. If a case is disposed of in this manner, the “CWOF” is not considered a conviction. After the term of the “CWOF” has expired, assuming the defendant successfully completed probation, the case would be dismissed. Thus, this type of disposition may have a benefit for someone who does not want to disclose to an employer or a potential employer that he or she has a criminal conviction. It is important to note that even if the case is disposed of by way of a “CWOF”-this case will still count as a prior offense if the defendant gets charged with this type of case again.

  4. For 2nd time offenders

    • A fine of at least $600.00 to as much as $10,000.00 dollars
    • Not less than 60 days in the house of correction and up to 2 1/2 years in the house of correction. You must serve at least 30 days of this sentence
    • This sentence may be served at a designated alcohol treatment facility
    • Second offenders may also be eligible for a 14 day in patient alcohol treatment facility and 2 years probation
    • 2 year loss of license

  5. For 3rd time offenders

    • A fine of at least $1,000.00 to as much as $15,000.00 dollars
    • Up to 2 1/2 years in the house of correction or 2 1/2 to 5 years in state prison
    • The sentence imposed must be for at least 180 days, 150 of which must be served
    • This sentence may be served at a designated alcohol treatment facility
    • 8 year loss of license

  6. For 4th time offenders

    • A fine of at least $1,500.00 to as much as $25,000.00 dollars
    • 2 to 2 1/2 years in the house of correction or 2 ½ years to 5 years in state prison
    • At least 1 year of this sentence must be served
    • 10 year loss of license

  7. For 5th time offenders

    • A fine of at least $2,000.00 to as much as $50,000.00 dollars
    • 2 ½ years to 5 years in state prison
    • A minimum of 2 years of this sentence must be served
    • Lifetime loss of license