As an OUI Lawyer in Massachusetts, I have met many individuals, parents, spouses and family members who come to my office unsure about what to do in response to a recent arrest for OUI. There are three things that anyone charged should understand about the license consequences of a First Offense OUI. In this Blog, I outline these issues.
1. First question always asked is when can I get my license back. There are three different option you need to understand.
You took a breath test and the results was over .08: you can get your license back in 30 days by paying the $ 500.00 reinstatement fee. You will have your license while the case is pending and you attempt to contest the OUI charge. If you admit to the charge prior to the expiration of the thirty days, you would be eligible for a hardship license if the court assigned you to the 24D program. I would not recommend a plea within the thirty days.
You refused the breath test: If you refused a breath test, the suspension is for six months. You can get your license back before six months, but it is difficult. The benefit of having refused the breath test is that there is a good chance you can avoid an OUI conviction with a not guilty verdict; the downside is that you will be without a license for at least three months while pursuing your appeals of a refusal suspension. Many will serve the full six month refuse suspension; there is no eligibility for a hardship license while the OUI case is pending; the third option discusses how you can obtain a hardship license, but requires a plea on the underlying OUI charge and admitting to the elements of the offense as outlined in the statute.
There are two paths to get your license back early.
Path 1: Appeal the breath test refusal suspension and have the district court reinstate your license. For this option, you would appeal the breath test refusal suspension within 15 days, the RMV would likely deny your request and you would appeal to the district court. This process does take probably three months. If the district court judge reinstated your license, you would have it back prior to the six months. I recently had a judge order reinstatement, finding that the police officer did not comply with the law in suspending my client’s license. This client received her license back in three months. While I have had refusal suspensions overturned, many breath test refusal suspension are affirmed.
Path 2: The second way to get your license back prior to six months is if we can obtain a not guilty verdict on the charge and the judge enters an order reinstating your license. It is difficult to get a trial within six months for a number of reasons, making it more difficult to get your license back prior to the six months with this option. Often, there are documents or motions we would want heard that would delay scheduling the case for trial. In all most all courts, it will take at least four to five months to get a trial date, so this option could save one or two months of the suspension.
If you refused a breath test and you want to avoid an OUI conviction, you should plan on having a suspension for six months. After the six months you can get your license back. You should also pursue an appeal of the refusal suspension, but understand that many of those appeals are denied.
Path 3: Admitting to the OUI charge and receiving the 24D program would provide hardship license eligibility for the 45 days license loss imposed by the court and the duration of the six month refusal suspension. While you can get your license back, assuming you can satisfy the hardship criteria, a letter from work, the downside is that you have admitted to the OUI charge.
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