While all Operating Under the Influence (OUI) infractions are serious, underage drivers could put themselves in serious jeopardy with the law. There are many ramifications for those convicted of an offense as an underage driver. Here is what you need to know about underage drivers and OUI in Massachusetts.
Potential Impacts for Underage Drivers
Like most states, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has a legal drinking age set at 21. All underage individuals are banned from consuming alcoholic beverages.
From that standpoint, no underage drivers should be arrested for an OUI, but it does occur. The blood alcohol concentration is lower for those under 21, at 0.02% or greater. Underage drivers could face a wide range of penalties, such as:
An underage OUI offense does have serious legal problems. Sometimes, a conviction leads to a permanent criminal record.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) can suspend or revoke the driver’s license of an underage OUI offender. That time frame depends on the number of prior offenses and the circumstances surrounding the current charge.
Most convictions for OUI carry a hefty fine. These financial penalties can cause a burden for young drivers.
Ignition Interlock Device
Sometimes, the courts may order the installation of an ignition interlock device in the offender’s vehicle. This device measures the driver’s BAC before allowing the car to start.
Additionally, courts may set a probation sentence. The offender may have to attend alcohol education programs or meet with a probation officer.
Underage OUI offenders may also be required to complete designated community service hours.
The Repercussions on Future Opportunities
A conviction for underage OUI can potentially restrict a person’s ability to gain employment, housing, and educational opportunities. Employers and educational institutions will conduct background screening processes, which could look at a criminal record.
A conviction can also result in massive spikes in auto insurance premiums. As a result, that can create financial challenges faced by young drivers already contending with the costs of owning and operating a vehicle.
Do Implied Consent Laws Apply to Underage Drivers?
In Massachusetts, underage drivers cannot refuse chemical tests for alcohol or drug impairment. The state upholds an implied consent law, meaning individuals consent to these tests when driving. Declining a breathalyzer test can result in an automatic license suspension, even if the driver is found not guilty of OUI.
If an underage driver is facing OUI accusations in Massachusetts, they need to seek the services of an attorney with experience in OUI cases. These legal professionals can evaluate the aspects of the case, contest the prosecution’s evidence, and help mitigate the legal repercussions for a young driver.
Learn More About Underage Drivers and OUI in Massachusetts
The consequences of a conviction for underage drivers and OUI in Massachusetts are magnified. Young drivers facing OUI charges should be aware of potential long-term effects, such as criminal records, license suspensions, fines, and elevated insurance premiums.
If you are faced with these charges, reach out to an experienced OUI attorney to handle your case. For over 50 years, the Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. has helped thousands of clients resolve their OUI charges.
Our law firm provides legal services to Springfield, Hyannis, Belchertown, Cape Cod, and other communities throughout Massachusetts. We offer a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Contact us by calling (413)-731-9995 or texting (413)-225-2072 today!