Massachusetts Drunk Driving Penalties

Massachusetts, criminal penalties relating to OUI / DUI or drunk driving are governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 94, § 24, and Chapter 94, § 24D.  Obviously, the penalties once may face for any one such charge will vary upon a variety of factors, including whether the person is charged as a first-time or subsequent offender as well as the specific factual circumstances alleged in the complaint or indictment. 

Persons charged with a drunk driving offense are not always individuals who have a lengthy criminal record or much, if any, previous experience with the legal system.  Very often, they are well respected members of the community; law abiding citizens; parents; siblings; employers; or people that either made a wrong decision or were prematurely arrested on suspicion of drunk driving by an over-zealous police officer.  Attorney Travayiakis has represented persons with OUI / DUI who come from various and diverse backgrounds, including teachers, students, engineers, doctors, and Fortune 500 professionals.

The effect of a conviction, or even an admission of sufficient facts, to a charge of OUI / DUI can have long-lasting and profound impacts on not only the individuals personal life, but also their employments and livelihood.  For this reason, particular care and caution should be taken by any person charge with a drunk driving crime and there should be a very careful balance when deciding whether or not to take a "great deal" offered by the prosecution or to take the case to trial.

If convicted of an OUI / DUI in Massachusetts, the likelihood of imprisonment and that collateral penalties that you face depend on a number of factors, including whether you are a first-time or subsequent offender.  For example, a first time offender may take advantage of the §24D Program, which requires a term of probation and enrollment into a alcohol treatment program. Drunk Driving Offenders over 21 face a loss of their Massachusetts Driver's License for a period between 45 to 90 days. OUI / DUI Offenders under 21 face a mandatory 210 loss of their Massachusetts Driver's License.

Depending on whether you are charged with a first offense or as a subsequent DUI / OUI offender, there may also be minimum-mandatory jail sentences if you are convicted and sentenced as a result of an OUI / DUI conviction. Sentences for a DUI / OUI first-offender can range from probation up to 2 ½ years in the House of Corrections; whereas a DUI / OUI fifth-time offender would be facing a sentence of 2 ½ to 5 years in state prison.

Additionally, a second or subsequent DUI / OUI conviction will require you to install an Ignition Interlock Device for at least 2 years should you seek a hardship license or when your driver's license is reinstated.


Summary of Massachusetts OUI / DUI Penalties

First Offense OUI / DUI

  • Imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years
  • Fines, Fees or Assessments between $500 and $5,000
  • Suspension of Massachusetts Driver's License for 1 year
Notwithstanding the above, Massachusetts also offers an 'Alternative Disposition' for first-time OUI/DUI offenders if the defendant elects to change his/her plea to a 'Continuance Without a Finding' (similar to a plea of 'no contest').  With the OUI/DUI Alternative Disposition the defendant is:
  • Placed on Probation
  • Ordered to Enter and complete a Drug-Alcohol Education Program
  • Pay fines, fees and assessments, typically in the area of $1,000 and upwards
  • Loss of Massachusetts Driver's License between 45 to 90 days (above and beyond any loss of license if the defendant refused to submit to a Breath Test)

Second Offense OUI / DUI

  • Imprisonment in the House of Corrections for not less than 60 days, not more than 2.5 years
  • Driver's License Suspension for 2 years
  • Installation of an Interlock Device on your vehicle when your license is reinstated
In lieu of the above, a defendant charged as a Second Offender for an OUI/DUI may also take advantage of an 'Alternative Disposition', which includes:
  • Being placed on Probation
  • Completion of an in-patient Alcohol-Treatment Program
  • Driver's License Suspension for 2 years
  • Installation of an Interlock Device on your vehicle when you license is reinstated

Third Offense OUI / DUI

  • Imprisonment for not less than 180 days, not more than 5 years.
  • Fines between $1,000 and $15,000.
  • Driver's License Suspension for 8 years.
  • Cancellation of the vehicle's registration plates for the duration of the license suspension.

Fourth Offense OUI / DUI

  • Imprisonment for not less than 2 years, not more than 5 years.
  • Fines between $1,000 and $25,000.
  • Driver's License Suspension for 10 years.
  • Cancellation of the vehicle's registration plates for the duration of the license suspension.
  • District Attorney's Office may seek forfeiture of the vehicle.

Fifth or Subsequent Offense OUI / DUI Penalties

  • Imprisonment for not less than 2.5 years, not more than 5 years
  • Fines between $2,000 and $50,000
  • Lifetime Revocation of your Driver's License without even the possibility of a hardship license
  • Cancellation of the vehicle's registration plates for the duration of the license suspension.
  • District Attorney's Office may seek forfeiture of the vehicle.


Overwhelmingly, many clients are less concerned with the potential of jail time they may face after conviction and are more concerned with the potential of hefty fines, fees and probationary terms being imposed; as well as the 'stigma' associated with having been convicted of a drunk driving offense.  The decision whether to resolve your case by way of plea or to proceed to trial is an important one, and Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis will guide you through the entire process, explain your legal rights every step of the way, and evaluate your chances of success so that you will ultimately make the most informed decision and best decision you can.

Massachusetts Criminal DUI / OUI Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis can explain your legal rights and avenues of defense and offers and is available 24/7 to discuss your criminal drunk driving charge. 

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Boston OUI / DUI Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.