An OUI on its own is already a serious matter. A driver convicted of even a first offense may face a possible jail sentence and a mandatory loss of license. The consequences are far worse when the OUI has resulted in an accident that has caused serious injury. There will always be a jail sentence when convicted of these crimes, but the range of jail time will vary. This is why you must have a lawyer if you have been charged with this crime.
The Definition of Serious Bodily Injury
In Massachusetts, serious bodily injury is defined as one that:
- creates a substantial risk of death
- involves total disability
- involves loss of limb or substantial impairment of some bodily function
If convicted of felony OUI causing serious bodily injury, there will always be a jail sentence. There is a minimum mandatory sentence of six months. Depending on what the prosecutor requests and the judge imposes, it could result in more time. In addition, a conviction may also carry a fine and the state will impose a two year license loss.
A misdemeanor conviction does not have a mandatory sentence, but there is a definite possibility of time in jail. The law allows for a sentence of up to 2 ½ years. Much will depend on the discretion of the prosecutor. In addition, a conviction for this offense also carries a two year license loss.
The Collateral Consequences of a Conviction
While jail time is the most serious punishment for this offense, other collateral consequences can remain with a defendant for perhaps the rest of their life. Once convicted of this type of offense, individuals can suffer the following:
- Difficulty in finding another job
- Loss of public benefits, such as housing
- Inability to own a firearm
- Impacts in their child custody case
This type of offense would not be expunged from a criminal record, and it would remain forever for anyone to see on a background check.
Defending Against These Charges
If you have been charged with this offense, you have legal options. Namely, you can either fight the charges or negotiate with the prosecutor for a lighter sentence. Remember that there is a wide variety of outcomes in these cases.
If you choose to fight the charges, you could potentially use the following defenses:
- The accident did not cause serious bodily injury
- The testing that found you to be under the influence was inaccurate (either the test or the custody of the results)
- Your legal rights were violated during the investigation
- You were not actually intoxicated at the time of the accident
Call Us Today to Speak with a Massachusetts OUI Defense Lawyer
If you have been arrested and charged with OUI causing serious bodily injury, you should not try to face the legal system alone. Call us today at (508) 252-8542 or contact us online to talk about your case.
Do I need a lawyer for a first OUI offense?
Yes, you should always retain an attorney for any drinking and driving offense.
How long will my case take to resolve?
Criminal cases can last anywhere from a few months to a few years to conclude.
Is there anything I can do before court to improve my chances of obtaining a favorable outcome?
In many cases, yes. An attorney can advise you on what steps you might take in your circumstances.