If you are accused of operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are different and possibly multiple suspensions in regard to your license to operate a vehicle. These suspensions typically run after one another, therefore it is important to speak with an attorney. Below is a simplistic summary of potential suspensions:
Chemical Test Suspensions: When you are charged with OUI Alcohol, you are given the choice to submit to a chemical test or what is commonly known as a breathalyzer. While at the police station, an officer will read you your rights pertaining to this test. If you submit to the test and fail, your license is suspended for 30 days. However, if you refuse the test, your license will be suspended for different lengths of time depending if you have prior OUI convictions:
- First Refusal: License suspended for 180 days
- Second Refusal: License suspended for 3 years
- Third Refusal: License suspended for 5 years
- Fourth or Subsequent Refusal: License suspended for Life
Immediate Threat Suspensions: Sometimes the police officer who cited or arrested you will file a petition to the RMV requesting your license be suspended because the officer feels you are an immediate threat. This is not commonly filed for OUI Alcohol, however, the officer may if they feel it is necessary. More likely, officers have recently used this tool when someone is charged with OUI Drugs. Unlike OUI Alcohol, OUI Drugs does not have a breathalyzer to estimate your level of impairment. Therefore, if you are charged with OUI Drugs, your license could be suspended if the officer files an immediate threat petition. There are time requirements pertaining to appealing this with the RMV and sometimes it may be more damaging for the accused because an immediate threat suspension could run longer than a suspension for refusing the breathalyzer.
Suspensions for a Conviction:
Regarding the suspension of your driver’s license, the length of time your license will be suspended depends largely on whether you have any prior OUI convictions. The period of time that your license could be suspended is as follows:
- First OUI Conviction: License suspended up to one year
- Second OUI Conviction: License suspended for two years
- Third OUI Conviction: License suspended for eight years
- Fourth OUI Conviction: License suspended for ten years
- Fifth or more OUI Conviction: License suspended for life
Eligibility for Hardship Licenses
If your license is suspended, there is a possibility you may be eligible to apply for a “hardship license.” As driving is a privilege, it is not automatic. The hardship license is granted at the discretion of the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and necessitates attending a hearing at one of the Registry’s Service Centers in the state (there is a center located in Worcester). It is important to speak with an attorney as there are specific documents the RMV requires before they even think to issue a hardship license. If you are granted a hardship license, you will be allowed to drive for a 12-hour period, specifically for the purpose to go to work, school or other purposes provided by state law. Since you are given a restricted license, you must drive only within the hours permitted or you could be subject to criminal charges and very likely additional suspensions.
Protect Your Rights by Scheduling a Confidential Case Review with an Experienced Worcester OUI Defense Lawyer
If you are charged with an OUI, now is the time for action to protect your rights. Contact Attorney Rafferty, at Eden Rafferty, Attorneys at Law to schedule a confidential case review with one of our experienced OUI defense attorneys. Our firm is composed of trusted and respected lawyers based in Worcester, Massachusetts. Your concerns are the heart of our legal practice and we will work relentlessly to defend you and advocate for your rights following an arrest.