Framingham Criminal Defense Lawyer With Over 20 Years of Experience Representing Drivers Charged with Drunk Driving Offenses – Operating Under the Influence (OUI/DUI)
If you have been charged with operating under the influence (OUI) in Massachusetts, take time to learn your rights. If you are convicted in court, you could face a potential loss of license, significant fines and possible jail time. Consult an experienced criminal defense attorney because this charge can impact your finances, ability to work and personal life for years to come, if not handled effectively.
Attorney Kevin R. Leeper has over 20 years of experience representing clients who have been charged with operating under the influence (OUI) or driving under the influence (DUI) in Framingham, the Metrowest area and throughout Massachusetts. Our office is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
For a free and confidential legal consultation, call Leeper & Associates: (508) 270-3000 or use our contact form.
When to Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney
The best time to consult an attorney is before your court arraignment. An attorney can attend your arraignment with you, enter a plea on your behalf and start investigating the charge.
Attorney Kevin R. Leeper is experienced in representing clients across Massachusetts. He regularly appears in local district and superior courts, including Framingham District Court, Marlborough District Court and Westborough District Court.
What is an Operating Under the Influence Charge?
Massachusetts law prohibits operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants and stimulants. The statute, M.G.L. C. 90 S. 24, states any person who operates a vehicle with a blood alcohol percentage of .06 or greater can be charged and any person with blood alcohol .08 or higher is presumed to be operating under the influence. Drivers under 21 years of age can be charged for having a .02 blood alcohol percentage. The percentage is .04 for drivers of commercial vehicles.
First OUI Offense – Potential Penalties
Often, drivers who are charged with their first OUI offense attempt to resolve their case quickly, on their own or with help from a public defender. But it is always better to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer who may be able to help you have the charges dismissed or negotiate an alternate disposition. You want to ensure you get the best outcome you can.
In Massachusetts, drivers who are charged with their first offense of operating under the influence may face fines of $500-$5,000, probation costs and license suspension for a year and have to attend a treatment program. While it is not common, the law states drivers can also be sentenced to serve time in a House of Correction. If drivers lose their license, they may be able to apply for a hardship license to get to and from work, but these licenses are not automatically given out, which makes it more important to speak to an attorney. An attorney can also explain other costs which may impact you in your situation.
If You Face More Than One OUI
In Massachusetts, drivers who have been charged more than once for operating under the influence face harsher penalties. These are a result of Melanie’s Law, which was passed in 2005. Here is a summary of potential penalties for the second, third and subsequent offenses:
- Fines, probation costs, treatment fees
- License suspension for 2 years for a second offense; 8 years for a third offense and 10 years for a fourth offense
- Treatment program
- Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
- Drivers who are convicted of five OUI offenses lose their license for life
Misdemeanor vs. Felony
Operating under the influence can be a misdemeanor or felony charge. The first two OUI offenses are typically misdemeanor offenses and are heard in the District Court.
If there has been a car accident which involves death or serious injury, or if the driver has been charged with a third or subsequent OUI, they can be charged with a felony OUI. A felony charge is more serious and is more likely to result in a period of incarceration.
If you are an undocumented immigrant or a lawful permanent resident (green card), there are additional concerns. Always contact an attorney before speaking to the police.
OUI and Car Accidents
Contact a Framingham OUI attorney immediately if you have been involved in a car accident and are suspected of operating under the influence – or if your child or spouse is in this situation. Police may charge and arrest a driver at the scene. Or if a driver has left the scene, the police may take several days to investigate a car accident, then issue a citation for the driver to appear in court.
These are painful situations and drivers often wait to contact a criminal defense lawyer. But a lawyer can advocate for your best interests during a police investigation and if necessary, in court. Remember you have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to police.
Contact Us for a Free and Confidential Legal Consultation
Attorney Kevin R. Leeper has over 20 years of experience representing clients who have been charged with operating under the influence in Massachusetts.
Serving: Attorney Kevin R. Leeper serves clients across Massachusetts, including in Middlesex County, Worcester County and Norfolk County and the MetroWest communities of Framingham, Natick, Marlborough, Sudbury, Hudson, Southborough, Westborough, Sherborn, Dover, Hopkinton, Milford, Medway, Millis, Norfolk and Walpole.