All over the United States, alcohol-impaired driving is considered a serious offense. In Massachusetts, drunk driving is prosecuted as operating under the influence or OUI. Drivers caught operating their vehicles while having a blood alcohol content level that is beyond the legal limit can expect to face serious penalties.

These limits are as follows, as noted by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles:

  • For drivers operating regular passenger vehicles – 0.08 percent or higher
  • For drivers operating commercial vehicles – 0.04 percent or higher
  • For drivers under the legal drinking age( below 21 years old) – 0.02 percent or higher

Drivers who are pulled over by traffic officers at check points or due to particular concerns will be asked to take a breathalyzer test. This involves blowing into a special instrument that will measure one’s breath alcohol content level. The results will then be used to determine the blood alcohol content level in one’s system. A Cape Cod drunk driving defense lawyer would be aware that officers also employ other methods to test for sobriety. These field tests include asking the drunk driving suspect to do a one leg stand and the nine-step walk and turn.

Suspects who fail the breathalyzer and field sobriety tests will be arrested and charged with an OUI. Punishment for an OUI charge will depend on the age of the driver and the number of prior OUI arrests. These penalties include expensive fines, possible jail time, and the suspension of one’s driver’s license. In some cases, the driver might also be required to attend an alcohol education program. For drivers under 21, a first offense could entail a 3-year license suspension period, as well as required attendance to a 210-day alcohol program. Meanwhile, OUIs that lead to vehicular manslaughter can lead to a minimum 15-year license suspension, spending between 5 to 20 years in prison, and paying up to $25,000 in fines.

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