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Frequently Asked Questions About Drunk Driving Charges

1. When will I lose my License as a result of refusing to submit to the Breath Test or as a result of failing the Breath Test (A reading of .08 or above)?

The police department should have confiscated your Massachusetts Driver's License. There are no longer temporary licenses issued. Your license is suspended immediately. There is no work license eligibility on suspensions resulting from a refusal to submit to the Breath Test or as a result of failing the Breath Test in Massachusetts.

2. How long will I lose my license if I refused to take the breath test? Or failed the breath test?

First Offense - 180 Days;

Second Offense - 3 years;

Third offense - 5 years;

Fourth offense - Lifetime.

Failure of Breath Test - 30 days.

There is no work license eligibility on suspensions resulting from a refusal to submit to the Breath Test or as a result of failing the Breath Test in Massachusetts. Once your refusal failure suspension has expired, you are eligible to get your full license back for a reinstatement fee regardless of whether your case is still pending in court. If however, you decide to admit to the offense or go to trial and are found guilty while the refusal suspension is pending, you may be eligible for a hardship license on a first offense.

3. What is a hardship license?

There are two types of hardship licenses – a work hardship and a general hardship. When you can apply will depend on the type of hardship. A hardship (Cinderella, work) license is a 12 hours license to be used 7 days a week.

4. What is a CWOF?

A CWOF means a Continuance Without a Finding. A CWOF is not a conviction, but the court will continue the case for a period of time and at the end of that period the case will be dismissed. However, for purposes of a Drunk Driving (OUI, DUI, DWI) it is considered a first offense and another offense will constitute a second offense with heightened penalties. With the exception of OUI's, CWOF do not carry a license loss because they are not convictions.

5. What is the first offenders program or 24D program?

It is a driver alcohol education program wherein a person charged with a first offense OUI attends a class that usually meets one time a week and continues for a period of usually 16 weeks. The 24D program costs approximately $567.00.

6. How long will it take to get a board of appeals hearing?

It will depend on the type of suspension with which you are appealing. The Board of Appeals application has general timelines that range from 2 weeks for a 30 day suspension to 6 months for a 10 year license loss.

7. How far back does Massachusetts go back to consider prior OUI offenses?

Lifetime - Massachusetts will now consider offenses that occurred during your life. There are no exceptions.

8. I plead guilty to a second offense OUI, but the registry is treating me as a third offense, what happened?

The Registry is not part of the court system and thus not bound by most court orders concerning license losses on multiple offense OUI's. It is an administrative agency using lesser standards of proof. You need only be charged with a third offense and you will be treated as such by the Registry. In the scenario above, your 2 year suspension that you thought you would get turns into a 8 year suspension for a third offense OUI.

9. What is an interlock device?

An interlock device is a portable breath testing machine that is installed into your motor vehicle and wired into the vehicle's ignition system. In order to start your motor vehicle it requires the subject to blow into it and provide a breath alcohol sample of .02 or less to engage the vehicle's ignition.