Massachusetts First DUI

Massachusetts First Offense DUI Laws Explained in Easy to Understand Simple Terms

A person can be arrested on a first offense DUI charge in Massachusetts in one of two ways. The first is for being in violation of the Massachusetts ‘per se‘ law, which states that it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .08% or greater. In this case it is not necessary to show the signs typically associated with impaired driving in order to be arrested.

The second is for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and displaying signs of impairment. In this situation it is not necessary that your BAC level be at or above the legal limit. The mere fact that you displayed signs of impairment are grounds for arrest.

When a person is arrested on a first offense DUI charge in Massachusetts they will be facing two separate cases. The first is the administrative action that will be taken against your driving privileges by the Massachusetts RMV for violating the state’s ‘per se’ law. The second case is the criminal case of driving under the influence, which will be handled through the criminal court system.

Massachusetts First Offense DUI Penalties

The potential penalties for a first offense DUI conviction include a jail sentence of no more than 2-1/2 years, a fine of $500 to $5,000, your license will be suspended for 1-year. You may apply for a hardship license after 90 days of the suspension period. Before the RMV will reinstate your driver’s license you will be required to provided them with proof of an SR22 filing.

There are alternative dispositions for first time offenders and they are as follows:

  • Plead to Continuance without a finding (CWOF). This is similar to pleading guilty, but not technically the same thing.
  • Pay fines and court fees totaling over $2,500 as well as being required to maintain an SR-22 filing with the RMV.
  • Unsupervised probation for 1-year.
  • Mandatory participation in an approved 16 week alcohol & drug education program. Program to be paid for by offender.
  • License suspension for 45 to 90 days (as long as you submitted to a breath test).
  • License suspension of 210 days for drivers under 21 years of age.
  • Some first time offenders may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for a certain period of time following the reinstatement of their license, or the issuance of a hardship license. Most of these cases resulted in an accident involving injuries to others, and/or a minor was in the vehicle at the time.

Massachusetts SR22 Insurance Information

Once your suspension period has been lifted, or before the RMV will issue you a hardship permit during your suspension period you will need to complete an SR-22 filing with the RMV before they will issue you your license. Following a first offense DUI in Massachusetts, you will be required to maintain your SR-22 filing with the RMV for a period of 3-years from the date of license reinstatement.

Failure to maintain your Massachusetts SR22 insurance filing will result in the RMV canceling your driver’s license. If this occurs, you will be sent a letter by the RMV telling you that your license has been cancelled and you will need to complete another SR22 filing with them before you will be issued a new license.

In order to help avoid the above scenario from happening, we strongly recommend that you get multiple quotes on your SR22 insurance needs from various insurer’s in Massachusetts. We think you will be quite surprised at the difference in premiums you are quoted for the same coverage.

Additional Massachusetts DUI Resources