Massachusetts DUI Laws

Massachusetts DUI laws state that any driver over the age of 21 with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08% or higher will be convicted of an OUI.
Written by Melanie Reiff
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
DUI laws—or OUI laws—state that any driver over the age of 21 cannot have a blood-alcohol level of 0.08%. Drivers under 21 cannot have a BAC above 0.02%.
In the United States, over 10,000 people are killed as a result of drunk driving crashes each year.
Driving while under the influence
of drugs or alcohol is a dangerous crime and penalties vary by state. Even a first-time offense can cost drivers up to $10,000 in fines and legal fees.
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OUI in Massachusetts

Like a few other states, Massachusetts favors the term OUI instead of DUI.
An OUI is "operating under the influence." This means that a driver can be charged even if a vehicle is not in motion. A driver who intends to drive or makes moves to do so can be convicted of an OUI.
Massachusetts OUI laws prohibit driving or controlling a vehicle if the driver:
  • Has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08%
  • Is under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, narcotics, intoxicating vapors, or other drugs
  • Has diminished faculties as a result of drugs or alcohol
Drivers under 21 will be subject to penalties if they are found to have a BAC of 0.02% or higher.
Every state has an implied consent law stipulating that you consent to be tested if you’re suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
All people who drive in Massachusetts are considered to have tacitly given their consent to a blood, breath, or urine alcohol or drug test. If a driver refuses or fails a test, they will be subject to a
license suspension
for at least 180 days.
The penalty for underage drivers who refuse to cooperate is an automatic three-year license suspension.

Penalties for OUI in Massachusetts

Penalties for OUIs in Massachusetts are determined by the severity of the offense and the number of prior convictions in the last ten years.

First offense

Maximum of 2.5 years
License suspension
Up to 1 year

Second conviction

60 days to 2.5 years
License suspension
Up to 2 years

Third conviction

Up to 5 years
License suspension
Up to 8 years
Additionally, drivers who are first-time offenders must complete one year of probation, an alcohol education course, and up to 30 hours of community service. Second-time offenders must undergo a 14-day inpatient treatment course.
If an offender is driving a passenger under the age of 14, they could face child endangerment charges. These charges come with up to 2.5 years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines.
Underage drivers with a BAC of 0.02%-0.08% may not face an OUI charge, but they will have their license suspended for at least 180 days or attend a Youth Alcohol Program.
Key Takeaway: Minimum penalties for DUIs increase for each subsequent offense.

Restricted licenses

Drivers who cooperated with but failed the chemical test could apply for a hardship license.
To be eligible for a hardship license, drivers must complete a part of their suspension and install an ignition interlock device (IID). The hardship license only allows a driver to commute to work or school during a specific 12-hour period.
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Does a DUI impact car insurance in Massachusetts?

Yes, insurance companies take DUIs very seriously and you’ll be classified as a
high-risk driver
. Some providers may deny you coverage altogether.
It can be difficult to secure insurance with a DUI on your record, so you’ll probably need to look at several providers.
can quickly compare rates from up to 50 top insurers so that you don’t have to spend time completing long online forms and dealing with sales calls.
Expect your rates to rise substantially after a DUI. Your insurance company will also need to
file an SR-22
on your behalf to confirm that you hold the
mininum car insurance required
in your state.

Other effects of a DUI

Beyond the conviction penalties and
higher insurance rates
, your life can be severely impacted by a DUI.
License revocation: After a DUI, you run the risk of having your license revoked—especially if you have multiple DUIs or other offenses.
Ignition interlock device (IID): Drivers who are convicted of a DUI in Massachusetts may have to use an IID for a specified period, depending on the number of convictions. An IID is installed in the car, which deactivates the engine if alcohol is detected on the driver’s breath.
Background checks: DUIs appear on background checks, which could adversely impact your future employment opportunities.

How to find cheap insurance after a DUI

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