Over the next several months, we will be posting excerpts from my book Drunk Driving Defense in Massachusetts. We start with Chapter One and will be posting more as the months continue.

Chapter 1. Offenses

 A. Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs 

1:1. Introduction 

Research References

West's Key Number Digest, Automobiles &key;332

C.J.S., Motor Vehicles §§1382 to 1394

The crime of operating under the influence of alcohol is set forth in M.G.L.A. c. 90, §24.1 M.G.L.A. c. 90, §24. Driving while under influence of intoxicating liquor, etc.; second and subsequent offenses; punishment; treatment programs; reckless and unauthorized driving; failure to stop after collision

(1) (a) (1) Whoever, upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access, or upon any way or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, operates a motor vehicle with a percentage, by weight, of alcohol in their blood of eight one-hundredths or greater, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, all as defined in section one of chapter ninety-four C, or the vapors of glue shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one half years, or both such fine and imprisonment.

There shall be an assessment of $250 against a person who, by a court of the commonwealth, is convicted of, is placed on probation for, or is granted a continuance without a finding for or otherwise pleads guilty to or admits to a finding of sufficient facts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances under this section; but $125 of the $250 collected under this assessment shall be deposited by the court with the state treasurer into the Head Injury Treatment Services Trust Fund, and the remaining amount of the assessment shall be credited to the General Fund. In the discretion of the court, an assessment under this paragraph may be reduced or waived only upon a written finding of fact that such payment would cause the person against whom the assessment is imposed severe financial hardship. Such a finding shall be made independently of a finding of indigency for purposes of appointing counsel. If the person is sentenced to a correctional facility in the commonwealth and the assessment has not been paid, the court shall note the assessment on the mittimus.

There shall be an assessment of $50 against a person who is convicted, placed on probation or granted a continuance without a finding or who otherwise pleads guilty to or admits to a finding of sufficient facts for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or under the influence of marihuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, all as defined by section 1 of chapter 94C, pursuant to this section or section 24D or 24E or subsection (a) or (b) of section 24G or section 24L. The assessment shall not be subject to waiver by the court for any reason. If a person against whom a fine is assessed is sentenced to a correctional facility and the assessment has not been paid, the court shall note the assessment onthe mittimus. The monies collected pursuant to the fees established by this paragraph shall be transmitted monthly by the courts to the state treasurer who shall then deposit, invest and transfer the monies, from time to time, into the Victims of Drunk Driving Trust Fund established in section 66 of chapter 10. The monies shall then be administered, pursuant to said section 66 of said chapter 10, by the victim and witness assistance board for the purposes set forth in said section 66. Fees paid by an individual into the Victims of Drunk Driving Trust Fund pursuant to this section shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other fee imposed by the court pursuant to this chapter or any other chapter. The administrative office of the trial court shall file a report detailing the amount of funds imposed and collected pursuant to this section to the house and senate committees on ways and means and to the victim and witness assistance board not later than August 15 of each calendar year.

If the defendant has been previously convicted or assigned to an alcohol or controlled substance education, treatment, or rehabilitation program by a court of the commonwealth or any other jurisdiction because of a like violation preceding the date of the commission of the offense for which he has been convicted, the defendant shall be punished by a fine of not less than six hundred nor more than ten thousand dollars and by imprisonment for not less than sixty days nor more than two and one-half years; provided, however, that the sentence imposed upon such person shall not be reduced to less than thirty days, nor suspended, nor shall any such person be eligible for probation, parole, or furlough or receive any deduction from his sentence for good conduct until such person has served thirty days of such sentence; provided, further, that the commissioner of correction may, on the recommendation of the warden, superintendent, or other person in charge of a correctional institution, or the administrator of a county correctional institution, grant to an offender committed under this subdivision a temporary release in the custody of an officer of such institution for the following purposes only: to attend the funeral of a relative; to visit a critically ill relative; to obtain emergency medical or psychiatric services unavailable at said institution; to engage in employment pursuant to a work release program; or for the purposes of an aftercare program designed to support the recovery of an offender who has completed an alcohol or controlled substance education, treatment or rehabilitation program operated by the department of correction; and provided, further, that the defendant may serve all or part of such thirty day sentence to the extent such resources are available in a correctional facility specifically designated by the department of correction for the incarceration and rehabilitation of drinking drivers.