In Massachusetts, these abbreviations relatively refer to the same thing, operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, as with most topics in the legal sphere, it is still very important to dig deeper into the question because ignorance or lack of understanding of the law is no defense.
What Do OUI, DUI, and DWI Mean?
DWI is driving while intoxicated; DUI is driving under the influence; and OUI, which is the criminal charge in Massachusetts, is operating under the influence. All three refer to driving while impaired from having ingested, smoked, or otherwise taken an impairing substance, legal or illegal.
What Is OUI in Massachusetts?
OUI is defined in Massachusetts as operating a motor vehicle on a public road or in any place to which the public has the right of access while under the influence of alcohol at a level of .08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher or under the influence of drugs, stimulants, depressants, or even glue vapors. Commercial drivers and minors who drive while impaired are subject to lower BAC limits. Drivers with a commercial driver’s license operating a commercial vehicle are considered to be driving under the influence with a BAC of .04 percent or more. For drivers who are not old enough to legally buy or drink alcohol, Massachusetts follows a zero tolerance policy, meaning any BAC of .02 percent or more is considered driving under the influence.
However, the reason Massachusetts uses the term “OUI” is that DUI and DWI both refer to “driving,” implying that there must be movement of the vehicle before the law applies. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney in order understand the complexity of the definition of “operation” in Massachusetts. You could be found you satisfy “operation” by doing a lot less than you think.
What Are the Penalties for OUI in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts uses a graduated system of penalties depending upon the number of OUI convictions you already have on your record. Refer to our webpage here, which illustrates all potential penalties for First Offense to Subsequent Offense Operating Under the Influence Charges.
If you have been arrested or are facing charges of OUI in Massachusetts, we offer compassionate and experienced help. Please contact us by telephone at (508) 795-1601 or by filling out the simple contact form on our website.