Even if this is your first run-in with the law and your first operating under the influence conviction, it is a serious criminal charge in Massachusetts. In fact, you should make sure you really are only a first-time offender now that this state has a life-time look back law. This new law means that even if you were convicted of OUI decades ago, it can now be considered a multiple offense, not a first offense.
You may be surprised to know that a first-time OUI conviction can result in some jail time. The maximum jail sentence for a first offense is not to exceed 2 ½ years. The minimum fine is $500, but beware because it could go all the way up to $5,000!
The Registry of Motor Vehicles will suspend your driver's license for 1 year, however after 3 months you can apply for a work or school hardship license. This will allow you to drive to and from work or school for only 12 hours a day. After 6 months you can apply for a general hardship license, which allows you to run errands and maybe stop at a grocery store.
Depending on the circumstances and facts surrounding your case, you and your attorney may determine that a plea bargain is in your best interest. Some alternative penalties that are often deemed less severe than jail, heavy fines and losing your license for 1 year may include probation and participation in an alcohol education treatment program. Depending on the specifics of your plea bargain with the prosecution, you may also receive your driver's license within 30 days if you plead guilty to the criminal OUI charge.
If you did not comply with the Implied Consent Law and refused to take a chemical test, you will face stricter penalties than others convicted of a first-time OUI offense. In this case, your license will be suspended for 180 days and you will not have the option of applying for a hardship license.
For any driver under the legal drinking age of 21, you can expect to have your license suspended up to 1 year for refusing to take a breath test or for having a blood alcohol content of .02% or higher.