What is a Cahill Disposition in MA OUI

April 21, 2020

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A Cahill disposition is a 2nd Lifetime 1st Offense. A standard true OUI 2nd Offense in Massachusetts requires a mandatory two (2) year loss of license from the sentencing Court and imposition of one of two alternative mandatory sentences, either: 14 days inpatient at a secure locked down hospital treatment center, followed by one (1) year aftercare and a two (2) year probation period, or sixty (60) days in the House of Correction with two a two (2) year probation period. The vast majority of Judges in Massachusetts will impose the hospitalization/treatment option over the jail option. However, a 2nd offense, like a 1st offense, is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 2 ½ year in the House of Correction. If there was a breath test refusal at the time of the OUI 2nd arrest a three (3) year CTR is imposed by the RMV and it cannot run concurrently with the two (2) year OUI suspension.

A driver/defendant can qualify for a Cahill disposition, at the discretion of the sentencing Court, if they have only one (1) lifetime prior offense, and the prior offense (CWOF or Guilty) is more than ten (10) years before the OUI 2nd arrest date. In a Cahill sentence, the driver/defendant receives the typical 1st offense disposition, i.e. one (1) year probation, outpatient alcohol education program, standard fees and fines and a loss of license as short as forty-five (45) days. This drastically shortens the Court ordered OUI license suspension and avoids the mandatory hospitalization or jail sentence. A Cahill sentence also allows for the driver to apply for an immediate hardship license from the RMV, as they would when sentenced on a true OUI 1st offense. However, the OUI suspension is on and after any CTR suspension, i.e. three (3) year CTR plus forty-five (45) days. Lastly, any lifetime 2nd offender, regardless of whether it is a true 2nd or Cahill, must install and maintain the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) for the entire period of a hardship license plus two (2) additional years.

In my experience, a Cahill disposition is almost always obtainable on a plea disposition before trial. If a trial on an OUI 2nd Offense results in a guilty finding, even when the prior is more then ten (10) years old, a true 2nd offense sentence would likely follow, rather than a discretionary Cahill disposition from the Court. A Cahill disposition can also be continued without a finding (CWOF) but it is not as routine as on a OUI 1st offense..

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