Cape Cod DUI Attorneys

Have you been charged with an OUI First Offense?You’re not alone.

First Offense OUIs are the most commonly seen cases in the district courts of Massachusetts.

If you’ve been arrested or charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts for the first time , it’s natural to feel scared, overwhelmed, or hopeless. But don’t give up.

You have rights. You have options.

Facing this kind of charge does not mean you are guilty or a bad person. People from all walks of life, all occupations, and all lifestyles get charged with Operating Under the Influence. Whether your case boils down to a risky decision, a misunderstanding, or if the police just got it all wrong, Attorneys Milligan and Higgins are prepared 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 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.

Penalties For OUI First Offense

The law for a First Offense OUI can be somewhat complicated and difficult to read. Here’s a plain language summary derived from Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24—the Massachusetts OUI law. Should you have any questions please call or text Attorneys Higgins and Milligan at (617) 217-4450 to get answers fast.

First Offense OUI Penalties

A First Offense OUI is technically punishable by up to 2.5 years in the House of Correction, a $500-$5,000 fine, or both. Most First Offense OUIs, however, can be resolved without jail time via an Alternative Disposition provided for by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D.

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D Alternative Disposition

Rather than going to jail, you might be permitted to complete 2 years of probation with a condition that you also complete a driver alcohol education program. There would also be a 45-90 day license loss (rather than a year). If your OUI resulted in serious personal injury or death to another you are not eligible for this disposition. THIS IS THE MOST COMMON OUTCOME FOR A FIRST OFFENSE OUI.

First Offense OUI Fees and Fines

The breakdown of first OUI fines in the Cape includes items such as $65/month Probation Service Fee; $250 Head Injury Assessment; $50 Victims of Drunk Driving Fee; $250 Probation 24D Program Fee; Driver Alcohol Education Program Fee (amount to be determined by the Department of Public Health, but presently $567.22).

First Offense OUI License Loss

The Alternative Disposition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D provides for a license loss of between 45 and 90 days. Upon entry into the 24D Driver Alcohol Education Program, you can apply for a 12-Hour Hardship License during your 45-90 day license loss. If you did not receive the Alternative Disposition, the standard penalty is 1 year (with eligibility to apply for a hardship license 3 months after conviction). There are several ways to fight or reduce license loss for a first OUI.

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Additional Breath Test-Related License Loss

• If you are above the age of 21 and refused the Breath Test: 180 Days
• If you are under the age of 21 and refused the Breath Test: 3 Years
• If you are above the age of 21 and failed the Breath Test (+ 0.08): 30 Days
If you are under the age of 21, took the Breath Test and produced a reading of 0.02 or greater: 30 days plus an additional 180 days, for a total of 210 days.


Option 1: Fight The Case

Challenge the charge that has been brought against you. This option involves going to one of the district courts that serve Cape Cod and putting it on the government to meet their burden of proof, filing motions against the admissibility of evidence, and in most instances, exercising your constitutional right to a trial—all in an effort to obtain you a Not Guilty verdict. The government may want to use breathalyzer test results against you in addition to other diagnostic, circumstantial, or witness evidence. It’s worth fighting your case because critical evidence for the prosecution may ultimately end up inadmissible in court.

If you fight the case and win, upon order of the court your driver’s license will be reinstated subject to a $500 reinstatement fee at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

If you fight the case and lose, you will receive practically the same sentence that you would have received if you elected to Plea/Admit to the charge. The only difference is that a loss at trial will result in a conviction.

Option 2: Plea/Admit

The goal here is to obtain a non-conviction resolution to your Cape Cod OUI case without going to trial, generally through a favorable plea bargain and/or an alternative disposition with lenient sentencing and no conviction on your criminal record. If you elect this option, you can expect the following:

  • Continuance without a Finding (CWOF), a probationary period of 1-year. This disposition is not a conviction.
  • Entry into a 16-week First Offender’s Alcohol Education Program that meets once a week.
  • 45-90 day license loss. If you refused the Breath Test, this suspension will be tacked on to your 180-day refusal suspension.
  • $1,380 in Statutory/Probationary Fees. We can get you set up on a payment plan.
  • Eligibility for a 12-hour, 7 days a week, Hardship Driver’s License. We will assist you in obtaining this license from the RMV.

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.

Your First Day in Court: The Arraignment

If you were arrested for a First Offense DUI, the first time you will appear in court is for your “arraignment.” This is a procedural event with only a few simple steps. Here’s what to expect when you get to the courthouse.


When you arrive at the courthouse you need to check into the probation department where a probation officer will get some biographical information from you in order to check on your criminal history. They ask you these questions to assess your eligibility for a court-appointed lawyer.


Once you’ve completed this process, you will be directed to the First Session/Main Session courtroom, where you will wait for your case to be called. When your case is called, the court will go forward with an ARRAIGNMENT, which is a formal way for the court to charge you with a crime. The Clerk will read off the complaint and enter pleas of Not Guilty on your behalf.


You will be released on your personal recognizance. This means you’ll be permitted to leave the courthouse without paying bail on the promise that you will return for your next court date. The judge will give you this “pre-trial conference” date, which will often be months later.


The court will also inquire about your intentions to hire a lawyer. The court will expect you to have a lawyer by the next court date. Depending on the facts of your case and your criminal record, it is possible that you may have to post an amount of bail.

Frequently Asked Questions: First Offense OUI

The Registry of Motor Vehicles does not issue Hardship (or commonly referred to as “Cinderella) Licenses for Breath Test Refusal or Failure Suspensions. A resolution to your Cape Cod OUI case and entry into the First Offender’s Alcohol Education Program is necessary for you to be eligible for a Hardship License.

“CWOF” stands for Continuance Without a Finding. This is the most common disposition for First Offense OUIs that do not go to trial. It is a non-conviction resolution to the charge. In order to obtain a CWOF, you must make an “admission to sufficient facts” to warrant a finding of guilty, but instead of asking the court to find you guilty, you are asking the court to continue your case without making a finding for a period of probation. If you successfully complete probation, the case will be dismissed at the end of your probationary period. While a CWOF is not a conviction, it does count as a prior offense if you are ever charged with an OUI again.

If you refused the breath test and this is your first offense, your license is suspended for a period of 180 days. You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to appeal this suspension at the Registry of Motor Vehicles in Boston. The appeal is called a “Chemical Test Refusal (CTR)” Hearing. There are three issues you can challenge at this hearing: 1) Whether the police officer have reasonable grounds to believe you were OUI; 2) Whether you were placed under arrest; and 3) Whether you refused the Breath Test.

Once you are arraigned there will be an entry on your record indicating that you have been charged with a crime. This entry will remain on your record regardless of the outcome of your case. You can, however, at a later date petition the court to have the record of this charge sealed.

A First Offense OUI is not a felony; it is a misdemeanor. Whether you have to disclose it to a prospective employer will depend upon where you fall in the application process and how the question is posed.

Top-Rated First OUI Defense Lawyers in Massachusetts


Attorney James Milligan is a top-rated Massachusetts First 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 First 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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