Cape Cod DUI Attorneys

Not all DUI charges are for alcohol.

Were you charged with drugged driving? Fight for your rights and put the burden of proof on the state.

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs (DUI Drugs, or OUI Drugs in the state of Massachusetts), you will face the same range of consequences as persons who are convicted for drunk driving. This can be true even if the drugs were a medication that was prescribed to you. But don’t give up.

You have rights. You have options.

Many people are unaware that the state considers things like certain powerful painkillers and medical marijuana to be as dangerous as driving drunk.  If you were caught unaware or made a mistake, don’t give up. The burden of proof on the state is very high in a DUI Drugs case, where breathalyzer tests are not available and numerical standards for impairment are not codified in law. It’s possible to fight the case.

And you won’t go into battle alone. Attorneys Milligan and Higgins are prepared to stand by your side to protect and defend your legal rights.

Our firm practices 100% DUI defense. Our experience in both defending and prosecuting Massachusetts OUI cases gives us the advantage.

Call or Text Now For A Free Case Evaluation 24/7
(617) 851-7155

Boston Office
867 Boylston Street
Suite 500
Boston MA 02116

Southshore Office
269 Hanover Street
Building One,
Hanover, MA 02339

How we handle your OUI Drugs case in the Cape will depend on your particular situation. Get to know your options and consult with an experienced Massachusetts OUI attorney before you make any decisions about how to handle your case.

DUI & Drugs - The Law

It is considered a crime in Massachusetts to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of any kind of drug or substance that impairs your ability to drive. These include alcohol, cannabis, prescription drugs, street drugs, any depressant or stimulant substances, or even vapors from glue. An individual is considered impaired and can be charged with an OUI if they drive while under the influence of any one or any combination of these substances.

Driving on Drugs & OUI Penalties

The law governing OUI penalties in Massachusetts applies equally when driving under the influence of prescription drugs, cannabis, opioids, or any other intoxicating substance that impairs your ability to operate a vehicle. In other words, the penalty will be the same, whether you were driving drunk or driving high, and a second offense penalty can be incurred, even if the substance is different from the first offense. However, due to the difficulty of obtaining decisive evidence of drug impairment, the burden of proof with drugged driving is far higher on the state than it is with alcohol.

Drugs & “Implied Consent”

Under current Massachusetts law, by getting behind the wheel of a vehicle, you are implying your consent to be tested by breath or blood for alcohol intoxication. Refusal to take a breathalyzer test violates the law and automatically results in a suspension of your license for 6 months. However, there is no law in Massachusetts that requires a driver suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana to agree to a chemical test, as Massachusetts is one of just five states that does not have an “implied consent” law for drug-impaired driving.  The main problem is that there is currently no reliable drug test for DUI evaluation in the country that is comparably accurate, portable, and simple as a breathalyzer test.

As a result, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to request that the license of someone suspected of OUI-Marijuana be suspended as an “Immediate Threat.”  If granted, an Immediate Threat suspension would be a discretionary and indefinite license suspension.

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DUI & Drugs - The Consequences

The law for OUI as related to drugs can be somewhat complicated and difficult to read. Here’s a plain language summary of the potential consequences derived from Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24—the Massachusetts OUI law. Should you have any questions please call or text Attorney Higgins at (508) 930-4273 or Attorney Milligan at (617) 851-7155 to get answers fast.

Penalties for DUI & Drugs

The penalties for an OUI drugs conviction are the same for any other OUI conviction, and will be cumulative with prior OUI offenses, whether they were for alcohol, drugs, or any other substance. A first offense OUI conviction for drugs would incur a 1 year suspension of your driver’s license, a fine of $500 – $5,000, and up to 2.5 years in jail. Most first offenses for DUI drugs are resolved without jail time, however, via a CWOF and 24D alternative disposition. This would typically include mandatory participation in a driver education program or drug treatment/rehabilitation program and a probationary period.

Fees and Fines for Drugged Driving

Prescription drugs are legal to have with you if used in the manner directed. However, it’s illegal “to have an ‘open container’ of marijuana or marijuana-infused products while operating your vehicle, and this could lead to a fine of up to $500 and potentially additional penalties. Illegal substances such as street drugs can incur separate penalties, fines, or criminal charges, depending on the laws related to those substances.

Driver’s License Suspensions & Drugs

As with alcohol, a conviction for DUI drugs (marijuana, prescription, or otherwise) will include a license suspension. For first offenders, this suspension will likely last sometime between forty-five and ninety days.  Subsequent offenses will likely involve longer suspensions.  The RMV will also likely impose pre-conditions to reinstatement, such as clean drug screens.

Breath Test Failure & Drugs

Unlike an OUI for drinking, there are no standard blood content level requirements or breath tests for a drugged driving OUI. You will not receive a license suspension for breath test failure for drugs other than alcohol. There is no blood testing standard either, although law enforcement uses the aforementioned tests frequently. A small amount of alcohol taken after ingesting certain drugs can compound the effects of both even while you remain beneath the legal breath test threshold of .08% BAC. You may be charged with OUI even if you pass a breath test should the arresting officer believe that drugs have further impaired your ability to drive.

Submit A Free Case Evaluation or call (508) 217-4450 at any time of day or night to discuss your situation with our firm for free.

Frequently Asked Questions: Fourth Offense OUI

Although the recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the state of Massachusetts, it is still illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. According to chapter 90, section 24 of Massachusetts General Law, you can be charged with an OUI if you drive a motor vehicle “while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances… or the vapors of glue.”

Finally, a first or second offender often has the option to admit to sufficient facts (which is not the same as admitting guilt) and accept a Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF). In return, you won’t be convicted (but will serve probation) and you’ll also benefit from a reduced license suspension of 45-90 days.

Commonly used painkillers like Vicodin and OxyContin are completely legal to consume in the instructed manner when prescribed by a doctor, but this won’t prevent you from being convicted of OUI if you drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs.  Prescription or not, the government recognizes that certain drugs can impair your ability to drive.

If it can be proven that you were made aware of the impairing side-effects of a prescribed drug (via a written warning, clearly marked label, or signature confirming that you were advised by a doctor or pharmacist), it’s your responsibility to avoid taking prescription drugs and driving while they are in your system. However, if it can be shown that you were not given adequate warning of impairment, it may be possible for a defense attorney to argue that you were involuntarily intoxicated.

The government must establish that a drug was in your system and in enough concentration to impair your ability to drive. This can be difficult, in practice, but the court has several avenues. Blood and urine tests aren’t necessarily accurate. They can’t determine whether the drug marijuana was actually used, for example, as TCH lingers in the human body for days or even months after it has been consumed.

Even if concentration can be established, the court may need to use expert testimony (that a particular amount of a drug would impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely) to strengthen its case. A “Drug Recognition Expert” (DRE) is a specially trained police officer whose duty is to determine whether or not a driver is under the influence of drugs and what type of drugs they are on. The DRE’s testimony can be used in court only if the government is able to establish the reliability of the DRE protocol and the testimony derived from it.

A first or second conviction for drugged driving is technically punishable with jail time, but this rarely happens in practice. This is because most first and second OUI offenses (of any type) are resolved through a Continuance Without Finding and a 24D alternative “Second Chance” disposition that requires an educational rehabilitation program and probation in lieu of jail time.

If this is your third or subsequent OUI offense, even if the others were for drunk driving and this one is for drugged driving, you’ll be facing a mandatory minimum jail sentence for conviction (with no eligibility for alternative 24D sentencing). This means it is in your best interest to fight the case and require the government to live up to its challenging standard of proof for drugged driving. If you are able to win the case, you will not face jail time for OUI drugs.

Top-Rated OUI Defense Lawyers in Massachusetts


Attorney James Milligan is a top-rated Massachusetts OUI DWI DUI defense lawyer and over 150+ five-star reviews. He is one of just a few lawyers in Massachusetts who is board certified in drunk driving defense as recognized by the American Bar Association. Concentrating his practice entirely on Massachusetts drunk driving defense, OUI defense, DUI defense, and DWI defense, Attorney Milligan is often the best resource for other lawyers representing a client charged with drunk driving.


Joseph J. Higgins has been named a “Superb” DUI Defense Attorney by Avvo with a 10.0 client rating. Attorney Higgin’s previous experience as DUI prosecutor has given him an inside perspective on how best to represent people charged with a OUI in Massachusetts. He devotes his entire practice of law to specialized DUI/OUI Defense and has been recognized by The National College for DUI Defense for his dedication and commitment to this area of the law. Attorney Higgins has also been identified by Super Lawyers Magazine as a Massachusetts “Rising Star” in DUI/DWI Defense. This distinction is limited to only 2.5 percent of attorneys in the state.

Don't take another chance.

It’s in your best interest to find the right DUI lawyer. Your choice can mean the difference between paying a good attorney now or paying the rest of your life with a criminal record.

Call (617) 217-4450 today for a free case evaluation.

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