Operating Under the Influence After License Suspended for DUI / OUI
Massachusetts Drunk Driving Laws provide for the additional crime of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs After License Suspension for OUI, where the person is alleged to have committed a OUI / DUI while his license was already suspended for a previous drunk driving offense.
A violation of the crime of Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs After License Suspended for OUI provides for the following penalties:
- Minimum-mandatory commitment to the House of Corrections of not less than 1 year and up to 2.5 years. This sentence, however, is to run 'consecutively', in other words, to be imposed 'from and after' any penalty of imprisonment for the underlying OUI / DUI conviction.
- Fines of not less than $2,500 and up to $10,000.
- 1 year suspension of Massachusetts Driver's License.
Implicit in this offense is that prosecutor must present proof that the person's driver's license was suspended as a result of a previous prosecution for OUI / DUI. The proof is most often satisfied by evidence that the Registry of Motor Vehicles mailed a notice of suspension or revocation. The defendant, however, may also present proof of non-receipt to rebut the presumption that a notice of received.
There has been extensive litigation involving the issue of notice of suspension. A prosecutor does not have to prove that the defendant had "actual knowledge" of the suspension, only that there is evidence of receipt of such notice. For example, in one case, notice was sent to the defendant's address on file with the registry. He had moved, however, but did not update his mailing address and never received the notice. In these circumstances, the courts have upheld the conviction if the defendant did nothing to update or correct his mailing address.
Another issue that may arise from a prior OUI is if the person's license was suspended but he then obtained a hardship license. Technically, if the person was operating under the terms of the "new license", he could not be prosecuted under this section.
Additionally, whether the suspended operator's license had been issued in Massachusetts or out of state could also be an issue. In a recent case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a person could not be prosecuted for this offense because the operator's suspended license had been issued in another jurisdiction. Because the Massachusetts Legislature had not provided for prosecution of this section as a result of out of state license suspensions, his conviction was reversed.
Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis understands the complex and technical nature of the various issues involved in defending persons charged with Massachusetts Drunk Driving & Related Crimes, and is available 24/7 for consultation.
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