24D Program Field Sobriety Tests Massachusetts Drunk Driving Massachusetts Drunk Driving First Offense Massachusetts First Offense OUI Massachusetts License Suspension Massachusetts Surcharge OUI OUI First Offense

First Offense Drunk Driving in Massachusetts: The Roadmap to Moving On after a First Drunk Driving Arrest

The Consequences of a First Offense Drunk Driving Arrest in Massachusetts

Massachusetts takes first offense drunk-driving offenses very seriously. Individuals that are arrested for a first offense OUI in Massachusetts face significant consequences.

The criminal and civil penalties for a first drunk-driving offense in Massachusetts include, but are not limited to:

significant jail time; the loss of one’s driver’s license; the requirement to participate in extensive after-care programs; payment of monthly probation fees and court fines; the cost of litigating the criminal case; and increased insurance costs.

After An Arrest for First Offense OUI in Massachusetts

Massachusetts drunk-driving laws require the defendant be given a criminal citation at the time of the arrest. The criminal citation provides the defendant with important information, such as details of the charges against the defendant, as well as information on the date and time of the defendant’s arraignment.

An arraignment in Massachusetts for a first drunk-driving offense provides a critical opportunity for both the defense and prosecution in a drunk-driving case. For this reason alone, it is in the defendant’s own self-interests to retain a Massachusetts drunk-driving as soon as possible after the defendant’s arrest.

The 24D Disposition for First-time Drunk Drivers in Massachusetts

For a first time alleged drunk driver in Massachusetts, a “24D Disposition” is often the defendant’s best option to dispose of the first drunk-driving offense.

The “24D Disposition” is not available to all first-time Massachusetts drunk-drivers. There are many factors the court and the prosecutors will decide before agreeing to a “24D Disposition.”

A defendant eligible for a “24D Disposition” under Massachusetts drunk-driving laws may be able to obtain a hardship license within weeks, if not days, of the defendant’s arrest.

Attorney Anthony Rao, Esq. has been practicing law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 2006. He has extensive experience in the zealous representation of defendants charged with First Offense Drunk Driving in Massachusetts. For a free consultation with Attorney Anthony Rao, Esq. please call 617-953-0836, or email him at



24D Program Field Sobriety Tests Massachusetts 24D Disposition Massachusetts Drunk Driving Massachusetts Drunk Driving First Offense Massachusetts First Offense OUI Massachusetts License Suspension Massachusetts Surcharge OUI OUI First Offense

Operating Under the Influence in Massachusetts: A Brief Overview of the Drunk Driving Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Massachusetts Drunk Driving Statute

Section 24. (1) (a) (1) Whoever, upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access, or upon any way or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, operates a motor vehicle with a percentage, by weight, of alcohol in their blood of eight one-hundredths or greater, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, all as defined in section one of chapter ninety-four C, or while under the influence from smelling or inhaling the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors as defined in section 18 of chapter 270 shall be punished by a fine of not less than five hundred nor more than five thousand dollars or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years, or both such fine and imprisonment.”

Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 90, Section 24 (1)(a)(1)

In Massachusetts, the Commonwealth has the luxury of choosing two different paths in efforts to convict an alleged Massachusetts drunk driver on a charge of operating under the influence. The easiest way for the Commonwealth to obtain a guilty verdict against an alleged drunk-driver is to use the breathalyzer test results.

In Massachusetts, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level at or higher than .08. If the alleged drunk-driver submits to a breathalyzer test – and those test results are submitted as evidence to the jury – the Commonwealth must only show that the defendant took the breath-test, and the defendant blew a .08 or higher. This “.08 Per Se” drunk driving case is the easiest and fastest way for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to obtain a guilty verdict against an alleged drunk-driver.

No Breathalyzer Test – The Commonwealth Must Prove The Driver Was Impaired Not Drunk

In Massachusetts, if an alleged drunk-driver does not take the breathalyzer test, the Commonwealth is required to prove the defendant was operating the motor vehicle, on a public way, under the influence of alcohol. The Commonwealth is not required to prove the defendant was “drunk.” Rather, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts only requires the prosecuting attorney prove that the operator of the motor vehicle was impaired by alcohol, and that this impairment influenced the driving of the operator. Indeed, based on the drunk driving laws of Massachusetts:

the Commonwealth is not required to show that the defendant actually drove in an unsafe or erratic manner, but must prove a diminished capacity to operate safely.

Commonwealth v. Connolly, 394 Mass. 169, 173 (1985).

American citizens have rights and liberties. We are not to be arrested without cause. We are entitled to due process. We are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights were created to insure the government is for the people, by the people, and of the people.

Attorney Anthony Rao, Esq. is a zealous advocate for his clients, and he is available for telephone consultations at 617-953-0836, or at his email address: He is a lifelong resident of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the bedrock of American democracy.

Field Sobriety Tests

To take or not take the field sobriety tests?

At a recent family dinner, a few members of my family were drinking their usual “Vodka with a splash of cranberry.”  As with most families, having a drink or two at a dinner is a common occurrence in my family.  However, there has never been a more dangerous time in Massachusetts to have a few drinks and then go behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

For example, on April 22, 2011, a young girl lost of her life due to the alleged drunk-driving of her friend. And of course, there has never been a year where more State Troopers were hit and injured by the actions of alleged drunk drivers.  So the questions remains, what if you are pulled over after having a drink?  What do you do?  Do you take the Field Sobriety Tests?

Under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, Article 12, all citizens of the Commonwealth have the right to refuse a police officer’s request to submit to Field Sobriety Tests.  Further, said refusal is inadmissible at trial.  However, if you refuse to submit to the Field Sobriety Tests you will almost certainly be placed under arrest and charged with Operating Under the Influence.  So the question remains, what are the pros and cons of submitting to a field sobriety test?

In the first instance, we should all be acutely aware that when someone is pulled over after a drink or two there is nothing more nerve-racking.  Our reactions will not be the same.  Our decision-making ability might be altered, and quite frankly, we may not do things the way we would normally do.  The very first thing one must do is gain their composure and make sound and logical decisions.  Take a deep breath, and quickly obtain your driver’s license and registration — even before the police officer approaches the vehicle.   Indeed, your goal at this point would be to minimize your engagement with the officer, as everything the officer sees, smells, and hears will be used against you.

Secondly, in almost every circumstance, if you have had more than two drinks over a short amount of time, it would be advisable to not take the field sobriety tests.   The following articulates the reasons as to why this is a sound idea:

(1) Everything observed will be used against you.  When you submit to field sobriety tests every mis-step, every stuttered letter, and everything you say or do not say will be used against you at trial.  Why help the Commonwealth build their case against you?

(2) Your chances of passing the tests after having a drink or two are slim.  Sober people do not pass all of the sobriety tests.  You are nervous.  It could be dark.  The road could be slanted or skewed.  There is traffic passing you.  There are people watching you.  Even sober people – who have had nothing to drink – do not pass field sobriety tests.  Therefore, do not submit to the tests because you think you are going to pass.  Indeed, if I am asked to take a field sobriety test, I will not do it.  If a police officer is asking you to take a field sobriety test he is already inclined to arrest you and charge you with OUI.

(3) You have no obligation to submit to the Field Sobriety Tests — But the police do not need to tell you this.  When someone is asked to step out of their motor vehicle by a police officer, many scary things will be running through your head.  Indeed, your livelihood, your family’s well-being could all be on the line.  The police officer WILL intimidate you.  The police officer will make you feel that you have no choice but to take the filed sobriety tests.  However, what he does not have to tell you — and trust me, he won’t tell you — is that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE FIELD SOBRIETY TESTS.  You have a Constitutional Right not to incriminate yourself.  Use your rights!

(4) No evidence, no case.  The burden of proof in a criminal case falls squarely on the shoulders of the Commonwealth.  You never have to prove a thing.  You do not need to prove that you were not drinking.  Rather, the Commonwealth must prove that you were operating your motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.  How does the Commonwealth prove that you were drunk?  They do this by observations of police officers and witnesses.  They do this by watching you submit to field sobriety tests, and they do this by the breath test results.  If you do not submit to the field sobriety tests, and you do not take the breath test, the only thing the Commonwealth will have in their case-in-chief is the observations made by any witnesses that may have observed your driving, and the testimony of the police officer who pulled you over.  While there are never any guarantees, the Commonwealth would be hard-pressed to prove BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that you were driving under the influence with such little evidence.  Play the game, they want to win, don’t give them the cards to do so.