Drunk driving, also known as operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs, is a serious crime that remains prevalent in our society.
Drunk driving is a mistake that is easily preventable but puts many lives at stake. Statistics say that in 2010, 10,228 people died in drunk driving crashes — one every 52 minutes — and 345,000 were injured in drunk driving crashes. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS data, 2011).
When people are convicted of drunk driving, it is usually not the first time they have driven under the influence of alcohol. In fact, on average a person driving under the influence has driven while under the influence eighty (80) times before their first arrest according to MADD statistics. This issue is especially relevant with the holiday season not too far away. There will undoubtedly be many holiday parties upcoming which will lead to people getting behind the wheel with a blood alcohol above the legal limit.
Massachusetts is an implied consent state. This means, if a breathalyzer (breath test) is requested by a police officer and declined by the driver, the Registry of Motor Vehicles automatically suspends that operator’s license. At the police station, you will be informed that refusing to take the breath test will result in an automatic license suspension of 6 months if it is your first offense, 3 years if this is your second offense, 5 years if this is your third offense and a lifetime loss of license if this is your fourth offense. The intent behind this law is to get people to take the breathalyzer.
A conviction of the operating under the influence of alcohol statute can carry up to two and one half years in jail as well as a fine of between five-hundred ($500.00) and five-thousand ($5,000.00) (M.G.L. c. 90 §24). A conviction will also carry a license suspension which is on top of any license loss instituted by the Registry of Motor Vehicles due to the declining of a breathalyzer test.
There are sometimes alternative dispositions available to an individual in an operating under the influence of alcohol charge that a skilled attorney can help negotiate. These dispositions can result in a charge being continued without a finding. This can be an excellent resolution as it results in the charge being “dismissed” if all conditions are followed and completed.
Recently, the Massachusetts State Police have stated that they would be increasing their presence on Routes 24 and I-195. After string of fatal crashes, State Police to step up patrols on Route 24 and I-195, boston.com, July 26, 2012.
These extra patrols will be between 8p.m and 4a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. This is in direct response to an increase in motor vehicle accidents causing fatality and serious injury. Unfortunately, a large number of these accidents have been the result of driving under the influence of alcohol. David Procopio, a state police spokesperson, has said that forty percent (40%) of this year’s fatal crashes have been caused by drivers who are impaired by alcohol or drugs.
If you or anyone you know has been charge with operating under the influence of alcohol in Massachusetts, or been injured by someone who was operating under the influence of alcohol, contact the Law Office of James K. Meehan for a free initial phone consultation:
(508) 822 6600