Drunk Driving

Drunk Driving

Melanie's Law, passed in October 2005, raised penalties for refusing a breathalyzer test and established new criminal offenses against Operating Under the Influence (OUI).

In Massachusetts 16,274 people were arrested for drunk driving in 2008.

Think before you drink or face the consequences!


                                                                      1st Offense
Fine                                                                      $550 - $5,000
Prison Term                                                                      Up to 2 1/2 years
License Suspension                                                                      1 year
Conviction                                                                                     2nd Offense
Fine                                                                          $600 - $10,000
Prison Term                                                                          30 days - 2 1/2 years
License Suspension                                                                          2 years
Conviction                                                                        3rd Offense
Fine                                                                        $1000 - $15,000
Prison Term                                                                        150 days - 5 years
License Suspension                                                                        8 years
Conviction                                                                       4th Offense
Fine                                                                       $1500 - $25,000
Prison Term                                                                       1 year - 5 years
License Suspension                                                                       10 years
Conviction                                                                         5th Offense
Fine                                                                         $2,000 - $50,000
Prison Term                                                                         2 years - 5 years
License Suspension                                                                         Lifetime
Don't be caught with bad breath!

Fees, Surcharges & Probable Additional Costs: Total = $8009*

*Court costs, insurance surcharge, victim witness fee, and attorney fees will vary.

  • Towing Fee = $100
  • Car Storage = $30
  • Magistrate Nighttime Bail Fee = $50
  • Defense Attorney Fee = $5000
  • Minimum Conviction Fine = $500
  • Victim Witness Fee = $50
  • License Reinstatement Fee = $500
  • Head Injury Treatment Services = $125
  • Drunk Driving Victim's Trust Fund = $50
  • Driver Alcohol Education Program = $574
  • Court Costs = $250
  • Probation Fee = $780
A Second Offense will cost you even more... from $1,430 to $10,000!

Refusing A Breathalyzer

Melanie's Law dramatically increases the suspension period for refusing a breathalyzer (over age 21).

ActionLicense Suspension
No prior drunk driving offenses180 days
1 prior drunk driving offense3 years
2 prior drunk driving offenses5 years
3 or more prior drunk driving offensesLifetime
Motorists will also lose their CDL license - 1st refusal / 2nd refusal1 year / Lifetime

If you are arrested for drunk driving, you will be asked to take a breathalyzer test.

The legal blood alcohol content limit (BAC) for drivers is .08.  In addition, drivers under 21 will face license suspensions for BACs as low as 0.02

If you fail the test, your license will be immediately suspended for 30 days.  If you refuse the test, your license will be immediately suspended for 180 days or up to life, and your vehicle will be impounded.  In either case, you will go to court to face criminal charges.

Drunk driving convictions remain on your driving record for life.

If the court convicts you, this will go on your record as a drunk driving offense and you will face the consequences detailed above.

Avoid the Ignition Interlock Device

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a handheld breath-alcohol monitoring device that is electronically connected to a vehicle's ignition. Before starting the vehicle, the device requires the driver to take and pass a breath test.

If you have two or more drunk driving offenses and are eligible for a hardship license or for license reinstatement, you must have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in any vehicle you own, lease, or operate.

For a hardship license, the device must be used for the entire life of the hardship, and at least an additional two years after full reinstatement. For a full license reinstatement, the device must be used for at least two years.

A driver must forfeit his/her motorcycle license for the term of the IID restriction.

Mandatory Ignition Interlock Vendor Fees: $100 - $500 install; $85 monthly

Driving Drunk Under the Legal Drinking Age

If you are under the age of 18 and are arrested for OUI1-year license loss in addition to any other suspension; $100 reinstatement fee
If you are under the age of 21 and are arrested for OUI180 - day license loss in addition to any other suspensions; $100 reinstatement fee

Driving Drunk with a Commercial Driver's License

1st offense OUI: In your commercial or passenger vehicle1-year loss of CDL License
2nd offense OUI: In your commercial or passenger vehicleLifetime loss of CDL License

Driving Drunk while Already Suspended for Drunk Driving

Drive under the influence of alcohol while your license is already suspended for drunk driving. You will be charged with two crimes  at once: OUI and OUI with a suspended license.1-2 1/2 years in prison; fine $2500 - $10,000;loss of license for 1 year. In addition to the above penalty for operating after suspension while OUI, you will also face the applicable criminal penalty for the OUI offense itself.

Child Endangerment While Driving Drunk

Drive under the influence of alcohol with a child 14 years of age or younger in the vehicle. You will be charged with two crimes at once; OUI and Child Endangerment while OUI.90 days - 2 1/2 years in prison; fine $1,000 - $5,000; loss of license for 1 year.