Posted tagged ‘Drug Offenses in Massachusetts’

Massachusetts Drunk Driving Law

January 14, 2013


  • Operation of MV
  • On Public Way
  • With a Blood Alcohol of .08 or greater, or
  • Operating while under influence of alcohol. i.e., the ability to operate safely is diminished by the consumption of alcohol
  • All operators are deemed to have consented to a breath test administered by a police officer by virtue of driving
  • Applies if you are arrested for OUI
  • Refusals to take the breath test will result in license loss of anywhere from 180 days to life
  • The duration of license loss for BT refusal depends on prior convictions and age of offender

Breath Test Refusal Penalties

  • First Offender                                             180 days
  • Second Offender or Under 21              3 yrs + 180 days (waived if in 24P program)
  • Third Offender                                            5 years
  • Fourth Offender                                         10 Years
  • Fifth Offender                                              Life
  • Prior offense includes prior OUI, OUI and serious injury and MV homicide
  • No hardship license from suspensions imposed for Breath Test refusals, except in the case of a first offender who is enrolled in the OUI program.
  • License may be restored after an acquittal

Breath Test Failure Consequences

  • Immediate loss of license to police officer for 30 days or until case is disposed of by plea or trial, whichever comes first
  • Automobile is impounded for 12 hours
  • Breath Test result of .08 or above is admissible in prosecution provided test is administered in accordance with law.
  • Represents a “per se” violation of statute

 Penalties for Conviction

First Offense Over Age 21

  • Statutory penalty:
    • Fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000, or
    • Imprisonment in jail for not more than 2 ½ years in House of Correction, or
    • Both a fine and imprisonment
    • License loss 1 year
  • Alternate Disposition for First Offenders under G.L. c. 90, §24D
    • Two years probation, entry into approved OUI program, pay program costs and assessments, probation supervision fees
    • License loss of 45-90 days
    • Hardship license available after enrollment in program on limited basis
    • Fines and community service may be assessed.

Penalties for First Conviction

Under Age 21

  • A person under age 21 loses their license for 210 days for first offense conviction for OUI even if they enter G.L. c. 90, § 24D program, but is eligible for 12 hour hardship license upon enrollment in program.
  • An additional license loss of 180 days is imposed under G.L. c. 90, § 24P – this may be avoided by attendance at special underage drinking program
  • If the Breath Test result for a person between the age of 17 and 21 inclusive, is not less than .20, the first offender program is not available and the individual must attend a rehabilitation program known as the “14 day second offender in-home program.”

Second Offense

  • Fine of not less than $600 nor more than $10,000, AND
  • Imprisonment for not less than 60 days nor more than 2 ½ years
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 30 days
  • License loss of two years
  • Assessments and fees applicable
  • Alternate Second Offender Disposition Available
    • Mandatory in-patient treatment at a residential alcohol treatment facility for 14 days, with aftercare
    • Two years probation
    • Two year license loss
    • Hardship license available after six months with ignition lock
    • Program costs and assessments applicable
  • Prior Convictions more than 10 years old may render a person eligible for first offender program once in a lifetime.
  • Persons eligible for any of the programs are presumed to be an appropriate candidate for the program.
  • A judge may deny admission of an otherwise eligible defendant to a program, but must make specific written findings that a defendant is not a suitable candidate.
  • Defendant not eligible for first offender program if serious bodily injury or death was caused in the events that gave rise to the conviction for OUI.
  • Persons who are domiciled out of state may be allowed to attend out of state programs
  • Defendants pay the costs associated with the programs
  • Probation fee of $250 in addition to program fees
  • Court may impose a minimum of 30 hours of community service
  • G.L. c. 90, § 24Q
  • Mandatory Alcohol Assessment by Department of Public Health or court approved program
  • All repeat offenders
  • Any offender with BAC of .20 or above
  • Must include assessment of the level of addiction to alcohol or drugs and recommended course of treatment.
  • Additional fee will be charged for the assessment

Penalties for Conviction

Third Offense

  • Fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $15,000, AND
  • Imprisonment for not less than 180 days, nor more than 2 ½ years in House of Correction or,
  • Imprisonment of 2 ½ – 5 years in State Prison
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 150 days
  • License loss of 8 years
  • Hardship Available after 2 years with ignition lock

Fourth Offense

  • Fine of not less than $1,500 nor more than $25,000, AND
  • Imprisonment for not less than 2 – 2 ½ years in the House of Correction or not less than 2 ½ – 5 years in State Prison
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 12 months
  • License Loss of 10 years
  • Hardship available after 5 years with ignition lock

Fifth Offense or More

  • Fine of not less than $2,000 nor more than $50,000, AND
  • Imprisonment of 2 ½ years to the House of Correction, or
  • Imprisonment of not less than 2 ½ nor more than 5 years in State Prison
  • Mandatory Minimum Sentence of 24 months
  • License Loss – Lifetime
  • No hardship available

Special Penalty Provisions

  • Any person under the age of 21, who takes a breath test with a result of .02 or greater, and who is not charged with OUI, shall have his license suspended for 180 days immediately under G.L. c. 90, § 24 P.
  • Lifetime revocation for persons who are convicted of OUI, MV Homicide and who have a prior OUI, OUI Homicide or OUI serious injury. G.L. c. 90, § 24R

Hardship Licenses

  • No hardship license from suspensions imposed for Breath Test refusals, except in the case of a first offender who is enrolled in the OUI program.
  • Hardship licenses are issued in the discretion of the registrar on such terms and conditions as are deemed appropriate and upon a showing the causes of the past and present violations have been dealt with or brought under control.
  • First offenders:  12 hour hardship license is available upon entry into program.
  • Second offenders:  12 hour hardship license for education or employment reasons after 12 months, provided person has completed in-patient program.  After 18 months may request for a new license. Vehicle must have ignition lock to obtain hardship license
  • Third Offense:  12 hour hardship license for education and employment purposes after two years and a new license on a limited basis after 4 years.  Vehicle must have ignition lock to obtain hardship license.
  • Fourth Offense:  12 hour hardship license for education and employment purposes after five years and a new license in a limited basis after 8 years. Vehicle must have ignition lock to obtain hardship license.
  • Fifth offense or more – No hardship license
  • Certified or attested copies of original court papers ACCOMPANIED BY 90:24(4)
  • Certified or attested copies of defendant’s biographical and informational data from records of the department of probation
  • Certified copies of any jail or house of corrections, the department of correction, or the registry shall be prima facie evidence that a defendant before the court had been previously convicted.
  • The documents are self-authenticating and admissible, after conviction of primary offense.  No live witnesses or other corroborating testimony is necessary.
  • New Crime:  G.L. c. 265, § 13 ½
  • Imprisonment for not less than 5 nor more than 20 years, and
  • A fine of not more than $25,000
  • Minimum Mandatory Sentence of 5 years
  • Manslaughter not defined in this statute
  • License loss of 15 years minimum, but may be up to a lifetime suspension
  • G.L. c. 90, § 24 ½
  • The device prevents the vehicle from operating if the BAC is above .02.
  • Device must be installed on each vehicle owned, leased or operated by a person previously convicted of OUI or similar offenses as a condition of the issuance of a new license
  • The device is to be installed for a period of two years (presumably from the date the new license is issued).
  • Device must be maintained and inspected in accordance with regulations yet to be enacted
  • The device will not permit operation of vehicle if BAC is .02 or above
  • Registrar may revoke license for up to life for two or more occasions of a failure to maintain or two or more instances of attempted use with .02 or above.
  • New Crimes
    • Operation MV in violation of interlock device restriction
      • Fine of $1000 to $15,000
      • Imprisonment for not less than 180 days nor more than 2 ½ years, or
      • Not less than 2 ½ nor more than 5 years in State prison
      • Mandatory Minimum of 150 days.
    • Tampering with Ignition lock
      • Not less than 6 months nor more than 2 ½ years H/C or
      • Not less than 3 years nor more than 5 years in state prison
    • Starting a MV equipped with Ignition lock
      • Fine of not less than $1000 nor more than $5000 or
      • Imprisonment for not less than 6 months nor more than 2 ½ years,
      •    Second Offense:  State Prison 3-5 years

For assistance with this or any other legal problem contact Attorney Richard Sweeney at 617-328-6900 or at


Drug Crimes in Massachusetts – CEO or Student it’s a Big Problem!

March 14, 2010

It’s not just drug dealers that get arrested for drug crimes. All too often students, professionals, housewives, doctors, lawyers, firefighters, police officers and others find themselves stopped by police and are in possession of an illegal narcotic.  For some it started as a bad back whose pain became overwhelming and for others it is a recreational drug that they are holding at the wrong time in the wrong place.  For students it can be that a roommate has it in the dorm or in a car with you and the police charge everyone present.  For others it’s a hidden addiction that now may ruin all they have worked for at home and at work.  For some it seemed like a great idea to make some quick money and only now do they realize the price they may have to pay involving strict mandatory minimum sentences.  A few unlucky clients may receive a phone call from a police officer that asks them to come to the station or meet with the officer “so we can talk before this becomes a problem.”   DO NOT RETURN THAT CALL BEFORE TALKING WITH AN ATTORNEY!!!!

The government’s “war on drugs,” has made for harsh, and often mandatory, penalties for narcotics-related crimes.  These severe penalties for drug crimes can have serious consequences for the futures of those charged. The criminal penalties are complex, depending on the drug, the amount you were caught with and the circumstances of your arrest, but even simple possession may carry prison time, steep fines, and the lifelong stigma of a felony conviction. The penalties rise significantly if your arrest involved violence, if it’s not the first offense or if firearms were involved. Unlike other crimes, many drug crimes also carry non-criminal penalties like loss of your driver’s license in Massachusetts, becoming ineligible for student loans or federal assistance programs, adverse consequences in immigration court and trouble with professional licensing or military service.  A narcotics charge hurts you everywhere you turn.

Massachusetts does have several programs available for first time offenders or those with addiction problems.  Attorney William Sullivan and Richard Sweeney work first and foremost with you on your particular case to make sure that every available defense is investigated and every piece of evidence is used to preserve your rights and get that all important NOT GUILTY!  In cases where law enforcement made a mistake that violated your civil rights, we may be able to get your case dismissed altogether. Also under recent changes in the law the government now has to produce an expert at your trial who has weighed and tested the drugs in your case and must then take the stand and go through rigorous cross-examination by us before the commonwealth can prove that what you had on you was, in fact, an illegal narcotic drug.  Due to budget restraints that does not happen in many cases and charges can be dismissed simply because the expert is not available to testify on your trial date.  Using our expertise and long experience in dealing with drug crimes we are in an excellent position to assist you even if you were actually in possession of an illegal substance.  They have to prove their case against you and that is fact specific to each case.  We make them prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

We will examine everything about your arrest and subsequent treatment to find any errors in the investigation, the search, the drug testing or other misuse of power that can destroy the case against you.  In addition we have extensive experience in the investigation phase from the police side and the prosecution of the case from our time spent working in the District Attorney’s Office prosecuting these cases and as a Boston Police Drug Unit Sergeant investigating  drug cases at all levels.

If the case is solid, we have been able to work with you and the commonwealth towards reducing your charges or the penalties you face, working towards allowing you to qualify for treatment and/or probation. Often we can get you situated in treatment programs and work towards showing the court that you are well on the way to recovery and therefore less of a risk to re-offend and that probation and continued attendance in rehabilitation programs is a better alternative than a jail sentence.

We are a dedicated criminal defense firm, well-respected by our peers and by the courts in Massachusetts.  That knowledge is reflected in our record of successes, which includes not guilty verdicts, dismissal of charges, placing clients in drug diversion programs, probation and getting reduced charges and penalties.  Sullivan and Sweeney has been awarded the coveted peer review rating of AV (“very high to preeminent” in legal ability and ethics) by the Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory — the highest rating awarded to attorneys and one shared by fewer than 7% of all lawyers in the United States and we are also listed in the prestigious Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.

If you’ve been charged with a drug crime in Massachusetts you’re facing charges that will change everything about your future.  In addition your family faces the stress of not only dealing with a possible jail sentence for a loved one but also the difficulty of not knowing where to start to get help with an addiction problem.  With so much at stake, you need the experience and knowledge of attorneys who deal with these crimes daily in Massachusetts. Call Sweeney & Associates at 617-328-6900 today to schedule a free consultation on your case.

You, and your family, have a lot of questions and a lot of concerns.  We will take the time to answer your questions and work with you towards a succesful resolution to your problem.  We have represented hundreds of out-of-state students at Boston area Colleges and we can help you and your family navigate through both school and the courts.  You already have a problem now make the call to find the resolution.

Please see our website at www.RSweeney.lawcom or call 617-328-6900 for additional information and helpful links.