The license suspension penalties in an OUI case are tougher for drivers who are minors or under 21. In Particular, refusing to take a breath test will result in a 3 year suspended driver’s license.
The Massachusetts Registry also has what is called a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving for those who are not of the legal drinking age of 21. They will consider you to have failed at .02% BAC (it is a .08% BAC legal limit for those over 21). Many people can register a .02 on a breathalyzer after only one drink.
If you are under 21, or your child is a minor and has been arrested for OUI, call me immediately for a free legal consultation. I will let you know what I can do to protect against a future criminal record and other consequences.
OUI Criminal Charge vs. Mass License Suspension Issues with Underage Charges
The actual criminal court OUI case is the same as if you were 21 or older. It is only the Registry and driver’s license suspension issues that are different.
All defense strategies still apply in an underage OUI arrest. The prosecutor must establish all the elements of the charge, including;
- the reason for the stop was legitimate, and
- they must be able to prove that you were driving the vehicle.
Why Fighting an Under 21 OUI Charge in Court Makes Sense
For many people, it makes sense to fight the charge in court, since the impact of carrying a criminal conviction for the rest of your life can be substantial.
In addition, if you refused to take a breath test as a person under 21, the 3-year license suspension is basically impossible to get around.
However, if you fight and win the case, we can file a motion for the court to order the Registry to lift the license suspension, so you can get your license back immediately if we are sucessful. And if you refused the breath test, you won’t get your license back anytime soon without winning in court.
So if driving is vitally important to you, taking the case to trial makes sense.
Please call me for a consultation on your minor DUI case, and I’ll help you work through your best options and opportunities for a defense, or to minimize the severity of any penalties.
Massachusetts Under 21 OUI Arrest – Laws and Penalties
Penalty for Refusing the Breath Test (under 21)
- License Suspended for 3 years for Refusal
Penalty for Failing the Breath Test (.02 BAC under 21)
- License Suspended for 30 days for Failure
Maximum OUI Penalties (under 21)
- Jail: Not more than 2 1/2 years House of Correction
- Fine: $500-$5,000
- License suspended for 1 year (consecutive with breath test suspension)
Typical OUI / DUI Penalty (under 21)
- Plead to Continuance without a Finding.
- Fines and court fees (over $2500 in total)
- Unsupervised probation for one year.
- License suspended for 210 days (not including breath test suspension)
- 16-week alcohol education program (one session per week)
- If BAC result is .20 or higher, you must take a 2 week mandatory, inpatient alcohol treatment program.
- Hardship license issues can be more complicated.
Juvenile Court DUI
Juvenile courts now take cases for drunk driving cases if the defendant is 17 or younger. Rules differences include:
- The defendant may not have to appear in court. A lawyer can represent a child because they would rather have a kid in school that to miss a day to show up in court.
- Court rules are different. The court is a closed session. It is cleared, so there are other lawyers, reporters, or gallery attendees present, just the prosecutor, the judge, and courtroom workers.
- If probation is the result, as is typical, a minor will likely have to appear in person before his or her probation officer every two weeks. In adults, it is only a monthly check-in, and often not in person.
If you are under 18 (designated as a Junior Operator by the RMV), you face license suspension for speeding or any other traffic offenses. See the Registry’s Junior Operator Penalties page.
Can I get a Hardship License After A DUI if I am Under 21?
If you failed a breath test and want to plead guilty (or CWOF), you are technically eligible for a Massachusetts hardship license for an under 21 OUI, but Registry hearings officers may be less inclined to grant one. Representation at a hearing by an experienced lawyer can help.
If you refused to take a breath test, you cannot get a hardship license to cover the period of license suspension due to the refusal.
The consequences of any OUI conviction on your record are significant, and sometimes even more so for minors. A criminal record can impact future career opportunities, scholarships, and a host of other issues that may impact your life.
Call me know for a free legal consultation on an underage OUI criminal charge. Criminal defense is all I do, so even if you have a family lawyer, you should strongly consider talking with someone who fights OUI cases every day. Call now to find out what I can do to help you with a drunk driving or other juvenile alcohol offense.
(781)380-7730 – 24 hours a day