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Operating under the influence (OUI) significantly affects your driving record, insurance premiums, and life. However, when you cause an accident as a result of an OUI, then there are other legal ramifications and consequences to consider. If your OUI resulted in an accident, here are a few points to know about potential issues with your case. 

Criminal Charges

Most OUI incidents end with a criminal charge. When these offenses result in an accident and one that causes injuries, you may be subjected to heightened criminal charges. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, these charges can include OUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury, which is a felony. Many factors can increase criminal penalties, such as:

  • Any prior OUI convictions
  • The extent of the injuries and damages
  • Other aggravating circumstances

Heightened Penalties

Some of these offenses can carry more substantial penalties than standard OUI charges. Many times, these accidents can lead to higher fines and mandatory incarceration. Those drivers who have caused an accident with injuries will have their licenses suspended for longer periods of time. These suspensions can range from a few months to several years. 

Most offenders must also adhere to probation terms, which can mean checking in with a probation officer, avoiding drugs and alcohol in the future, and complying with all court-order treatment programs. Any violation can lead to more criminal charges. Additionally, these individuals often must complete a drug or alcohol treatment program. The programs will address the person’s substance abuse issues so that they can prevent reoccurring problems. 

License Consequences

The license suspension periods for OUI Causing Serious Bodily Injury convictions can be longer than standard OUI offenses. Here is an overview of the license suspension periods for these crimes:

First Offense

For an offender’s first OUI offense that has caused injuries, the license suspension period ranges from 45 days to 1 year. However, the court can impose a longer suspension period, especially if the injuries are severe or other aggravating factors exist. 

Second Offense

The license suspension period increases significantly for a second OUI offense causing injuries within 10 years. Offenders could face a suspension of two years, with the possibility of a hardship license after one year under specific conditions. 

Third Offense

A third OUI offense causing injuries within 10 years carries a mandatory license suspension of 8 years. There is no possibility of obtaining a hardship license during the first five years of the suspension.

Civil Liability

Along with criminal consequences, an OUI offender may face civil liability. The injured parties can pursue legal action seeking compensation for their damages, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Other related costs

Civil lawsuits can result in financial judgments against the offender. 

Aggravating Factors

Some aggravating factors can influence both criminal charges and civil liability. They can include excessive speeding, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, prior DUI convictions, and driving with high blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels.

Remember that each case is unique, and the specific legal implications and consequences can vary based on the circumstances. Consulting with an experienced OUI defense attorney in Massachusetts can help you understand the potential outcomes and build a strong defense strategy in these cases.

Contact a Massachusetts OUI Defense Attorney 

The Law Offices of Joseph D. Bernard P.C. has over 50 years of experience and a dedicated OUI defense practice, providing world-class advocacy for clients facing the potential penalties of these cases. We serve clients throughout Massachusetts with Springfield, Hyannis, and Belchertown offices. Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential consultation. Call our office at (413) 731-9995 or (413) 225-2072 (text).