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Can You Drive Before Your Court Date Following An Arrest for OUI?

Your court date may be months away-- can you drive in the meantime?

If you have been arrested for operating under the influence (OUI) in Massachusetts, it is likely that you will be facing an immediate loss of your right to operate a motor vehicle. This means that while your case is open, your license will most likely be inactive and you will have to find other means of transportation to attend your court date until you are able to reinstate your license. Once your suspension time has passed, you can reinstate your license. So long as the Court has not ordered you not to drive, if your license has been reinstated you are able to drive for the remainder of your case. Please keep in mind that once your suspension has passed, your license will not automatically be reinstated. Our firm can help you guide you through the process of how to restore your driving privileges.

If you are arrested for an OUI-Liquor in Massachusetts, your license is most likely suspended for either of two reasons: a breath test failure suspension or a breath test refusal suspension. If you have not been arrested for an OUI charge and only issued a citation, you may be facing a different suspension called an immediate threat suspension, which is further explained below. It is also possible to receive this type of suspension if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident or were arrested for OUI-Drugs.

Breath Test Failure Suspension

If you consented to a breath test and produced a result greater than 0.08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), your license is automatically suspended for 30 days. If you are under the age of 21 years old, this suspension is even greater.

Under G.L. c.90, § 24P, for any operator under the age of 21 and is found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher, or who refuses to submit to a breath test, the RMV will impose an additional 180-day suspension and an additional 1-year suspension for operators under the age of 18.

Unfortunately, you are not eligible for a hardship license during this 30-day suspension unless you choose to accept responsibility for the OUI charge. Even if you do accept responsibility, a hardship license is granted at the discretion of the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). It is important that you speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your potential defenses in the criminal case and any other potential consequences before accepting responsibility in your case.

Breath Test Refusal Suspension

If you refuse to take a breath test and it is your first offense, your license is automatically suspended for at least 180 days. If it is your second offense, your license is suspended for 3 years. If it is your third offense, your license is suspended for 5 years. If it is a fourth offense or greater, you will most likely be facing a lifetime suspension against your license.

Unfortunately, you are not eligible for a hardship license during a refusal suspension. You are only eligible for a hardship license if you are facing a first offense OUI charge, or you have only had a single OUI charge which occurred more than 10 years ago, and you only become eligible if you choose to accept responsibility for the OUI charge. Even if you do accept responsibility, a hardship license is granted at the discretion of the RMV. Again, it is important that you speak to a knowledgeable attorney about your potential defenses in the criminal case and any other potential consequences before accepting responsibility in your case.

Immediate Threat Suspension

As previously mentioned, even if you are not arrested, it is still possible to receive a license suspension if an officer files an immediate threat suspension with the Massachusetts RMV. Police may request an immediate threat suspension to be placed on your license involving a motor vehicle accident or instances where a citation for OUI issued.

Pursuant to G.L. c. 90, § 22 (a), the RMV can revoke your right to operate a motor vehicle immediately for an indefinite period of time. The RMV may issue this type of suspension if the RMV determines that your operation of a motor vehicle poses an immediate threat to public safety. Although this law does not permit the RMV to issue you a hardship license, you do have a right to a hearing with the RMV or the Board of Appeal (BOA) to request your license be reinstated.

The best way to challenge an immediate threat suspension is to show the RMV and the BOA that you are a safe driver and not a threat to public safety on the roads. If you need help removing an immediate threat suspension on your Massachusetts license, it is imperative that you speak to a knowledgeable attorney to best guide you through this process.

Regardless of your situation, it is important for you to be aware of your rights as well as the possible remedies available. If you have any questions regarding this process, including but not limited to your Massachusetts license after an OUI arrest, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard for a free consultation today.

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