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Penalties for Second DUI Offense in Massachusetts

August 8, 2013


It is hard enough to face the penalties and consequences of a first DUI offense in Massachusetts. But what will happen to me if I am charged with a second DUI offense under Melanie’s Law and the Lifetime look back provision of that statute?

Typically, a second offense DUI in Massachusetts will trigger application of the minimum mandatory penalties from the Court. The maximum penalty is a two (2) year loss of license and up to 2 ½ years committed to the House of Correction. Which minimum mandatory penalties for a second offense DUI apply depends on how long ago your prior offense occurred. A second DUI Offense in Massachusetts can be treated as a first offense, one more time only, if the prior is more than ten (10) years ago. This second “first offense” is commonly referred to as a “Cahill” disposition. Under the Cahill decision, the Court is allowed to sentence a DUI Offender to the first offender program under M.G.L. Chapter 90, section 24D, to include one (1) year probation, the 16 week alcohol education program, and as little as a forty-five (45) day loss of license, with the ability to get a 12 hour hardship license. The sentencing Court can also, in Its’ discretion, continue the matter without a finding (C.W.O.F.).

The mandatory minimum penalties for a Second Offense DUI in Massachusetts when the prior is within ten (10) years is most often either a sixty (60) day jail sentence or placement in a fourteen (14) day inpatient program with a suspended jail sentence. The Court will impose a period of probation for two years and order a two (2) year loss of license. As most DUI repeat offenders appear before the Massachusetts District Court with little, or no other prior record, the minimum penalties most often apply. Caveat! A Cahill disposition may be available prior to trial, but not after a guilty finding from a Judge or Jury following trial.

Lastly, the Registry of Motor Vehicles requires an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for any person convicted of a subsequent (2nd) DUI offense during their lifetime. The Ignition Interlock must be installed during any period of early hardship reinstatement plus two years. With a Cahill disposition the Hardship License is available within three (3) business days of sentencing, just like a regular first offense, subject to an ignition interlock device for the period of suspension (45 days), plus two (2) additional years. On a standard Second DUI Offense in Massachusetts (non-Cahill) the loss of license is two (2) years with hardship eligibility after one (1) year of suspension is served. In this scenario, the Ignition Interlock Device is required for the one (1) year of hardship license, plus an additional two (2) years when the license is no longer restricted by hardship hours. A person charged with a Second DUI Offense in Massachusetts who efused a breath test at the time of their arrest will also incurr a three (3) year Chemical Test Refusal (CTR) suspension imposed by the Massachusetts RMV. Significantly, the RMV will allow a hardship license for this three (3) year suspension period under a Cahill disposition.

Attorney Bowser is experienced in the application of all Penalties for a Second DUI Offense in Massachusetts and representing those charged with this offense at trial. A “not guilty” verdict on the second offense DUI avoids all of the Court imposed penalties.

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