Massachusetts OUI for Minors/Persons Under 21
In addition to having some of the toughest OUI/DUI laws in the country, Massachusetts has a strict zero-tolerance policy with respect to OUI’s involving drivers under 21 years of age. Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L) Chapter 90 Section 24, any driver under the age of 21 who registers a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02% or higher will automatically lose their license for 30 days and face an additional Junior Operator’s License suspension. Drivers under the age of 21 who refuse the breathalyzer will have their license suspended 3 years and could face additional penalties.
The penalties surrounding OUI/DUI in Massachusetts can result in much greater consequences for drivers under 21 years old, particularly with respect to their driver’s license. Although jail time is unlikely for first offense OUI/DUI regardless of the offender’s age, probation, fines and fees, alcohol education classes, and a lengthy license suspension will almost certainly be imposed. However, like operators 21 years of age or older, individuals under 21 can avoid a conviction by admitting to sufficient facts (i.e., continuance without a finding aka CWOF).
Massachusetts OUI Penalties
Under 21 & Took Breath Test
If you are under 21 and register a BAC of .02% or greater in Massachusetts the RMV will suspend/revoke your driver’s license, learner’s permit, or right to operate for 30 days. Additionally, pursuant to M.G.L. c. 90 s. 24P, the RMV will issue a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) suspension. The YAP suspension is an additional one year for offenders under the age of 18 and six months for drivers between the ages of 18-20. Certain offenders may be eligible for a suspension reduction upon enrollment in the 24D Program.
Under 21 & Refused Breath Test
If you are under the age of 21 and refused the breathalyzer in Massachusetts the RMV will suspend/revoke your driver’s license, learner’s permit, or right to operate for 3 years. Additionally, the RMV will also impose a one-year YAP suspension for offenders under 18 and a 6-month suspension for individuals between 18-20 with the potential for a reduction for eligible individuals.
A dismissal or Not Guilty does not automatically make offenders under 21 eligible to reinstate the breath test refusal suspension or YAP suspension. Although a court may order reinstatement for a chemical test refusal, the court cannot do so for a YAP suspension and the offender must enroll in the YAP.
The maximum penalties imposed by the court for OUI first offense in Massachusetts include:
- Up to 2.5 years in jail
- Up to $5,000 fine
- 1-year license suspension
Implied Consent and Refusing Chemical Test / Breathalyzer
The Commonwealth’s Implied Consent Law effectively states that any individual who operates a motor vehicle in Massachusetts consents to a chemical test (i.e., breath test / breathalyzer or blood test) and applies to all individuals lawfully arrested for OUI/DUI. Although refusing a chemical test is not a crime in Massachusetts it results in lengthy license suspensions for individuals of all ages, including individuals under the age of 21. The length of suspension for a chemical test refusal extends for after each subsequent offense.
Whether you refused the breathalyzer or failed it, a skilled Massachusetts DUI lawyer may be able to limit the evidence against you at trial, including breath test evidence and greatly increasing your chances of an acquittal. Although a chemical test refusal leads to a lengthy license suspension for drivers under 21, it may increase your chances of success at trial since the prosecution cannot introduce evidence of your refusal to a jury.
Contact a Massachusetts DUI/OUI Attorney
Riccio Law regularly represents individuals all throughout Massachusetts on charges of OUI/DUI. Founder / Lead Attorney Anthony R. Riccio has obtained Not Guilty verdicts for multiple clients whose breathalyzer results were 2-3 times over the legal limit and a number of individuals charged with subsequent offenses, including 3rd and 4th offense OUI/DUI.
With a nearly 85% success rate representing individuals on charges of OUI/DUI at trial, Riccio Law offers the knowledge, experience, and skill needed to obtain winning results for our clients! Contact our offices today for a free case evaluation and to learn about our services.