Massachusetts is notoriously hard on OUI charges, imposing harsh penalties with a lifelong impact in many cases. For example, a first OUI offense could leave you with a fine of up to $5,300, a prison sentence of up to two and a half years, and a license suspension of up to one year.
The penalties only get harsher as subsequent OUI convictions occur, leading to fines of up to $50,000, mandatory prison time of up to 5 years, and a lifetime license suspension. Saying drunk driving is seen as and treated like an incredibly serious crime in Massachusetts would be an understatement. However, under certain circumstances, some offenders may be able to have the opportunity for reduced penalties and possibly zero jail time.
One way that can happen is through a 24D Disposition for a first offense, and, more rarely, a Cahill Disposition for a second offense. Because these opportunities are few and far between, the best chance at getting one of these dispositions would be with the help of an expert OUI defense attorney.
The 24D Disposition
In some cases, for first offenses, prosecutors will allow for an alternate resolution to an OUI charge rather than the traditional sentencing scheme, known as a 24D disposition, allowing the accused to escape harsher penalties. Ultimately, a judge will decide if an offender is eligible for this disposition, but it can be recommended by a district attorney as well. If the prosecutor agrees, the court will honor the agreement.
A 24D Disposition allows the offender a lesser sentence including a shorter license suspension and probation in place of jail time. The offender will be put on probation for a period of one to two years, will need to attend a mandatory driver alcohol education program, and possibly in-patient treatment for alcohol abuse. Under a 24D disposition, the maximum license suspension is 90 days. If the offender was under the age of 21 at the time of the offense, they will have their license suspended for 210 days.
The Cahill Disposition
A Cahill Disposition may be available to offenders facing a second OUI charge when their first charge was over ten years prior. This would allow the offender to receive a first offense 24D Disposition on their second offense. However, if there is a subsequent offense, regardless of how much time has lapsed, that offense would be treated as a third offense rather than a second, and the offender would be subject to third offense penalties. Third offense penalties include a fine between $1,000 and $15,000, a mandatory prison sentence of between 150 days and five years, and a license suspension for a period up to eight years. A Cahill Disposition is a second chance, but after receiving a Cahill Disposition, there are no more chances.
Trust a Leading Expert in OUI Defense
There’s no doubt that the penalties people face for an OUI charge in Massachusetts are some of the most severe in the United States. The prosecutors push for large sentences to “make an example” out of OUI offenders and judges show little mercy. However, there are some ways that limited exceptions can be made in the form of a 24D or Cahill Disposition. If you are facing an OUI charge, it’s paramount you find a skilled OUI defense attorney to help minimize the impact of this charge on your life and your future. Prosecutors will fight hard, so you need an attorney who will relentlessly fight for you.
Regardless of whether it’s a first or subsequent OUI charge, Bernard OUI Defense can help you minimize the penalties you face, maximize the freedom you’ll maintain, and help fight for the best possible outcome. Attorney Bernard quite literally (co)wrote the book (treatise) on drunk driving defense which is used by courts and other lawyers across the state of Massachusetts. He is a trusted expert and a nationwide leader in OUI defense, with a history of dismissals of charges and not guilty findings. Let Attorney Bernard and his team guide you through the process and fight for the best possible outcome.
With 50 years of experience specializing in OUI defense, and with an entire practice dedicated to it, you and your loved ones can rest easy knowing that your future is in good hands. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.