Cape Cod DUI Attorneys

Have you been charged with a Second OUI Offense?
Don't panic.

Most Second Offense OUIs can still be resolved without jail time.

The penalties for a second OUI offense in Massachusetts have changed significantly since the enactment of Melanie’s Law in 2005. While jail time is generally not in the picture for a First Offense OUI, it’s not entirely out of the question for a Second Offense. Additionally, the consequences for your driver’s license can be far-reaching. 

The inability to get to and from work, earn a living to pay your mortgage, drive your kids to and from their activities, go to the grocery store—we know what this charge can mean for your life.

Don’t panic. We’re here to help.

The facts and circumstances behind your arrest are unique. We understand what needs to be taken into consideration when formulating a plan of action. 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 Second Offense

The law for a Second 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.

Second Offense OUI Penalties

A conviction for Second Offense OUI includes a sentence of between 90 days and 2.5 years in jail, a potentially several-thousand-dollar fine, and the loss of your driver’s license for 1 year. Most Second Offense OUIs, however, can still 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 attend a mandatory 14-day inpatient residential alcohol treatment program, an outpatient aftercare program, and complete a 2-year driver’s license suspension. 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 SECOND OFFENSE OUI.

Second Offense OUI Fees and Fines

Second offenders are required to pay between $600 and $10,000 in court-ordered fines and $300 in various administrative fees to the state of Massachusetts.

Second Offense OUI License Loss

Conviction or an alternative disposition would result in 2 years of license loss. If your first conviction was 10 or more years ago, you may qualify for a “Cahill” disposition with reduced license loss of 45-90 days. Discuss this option with your lawyer to see if you may be eligible based on the details of your case. If you’re serving a two-year suspension for your second DUI conviction, you may be eligible to apply for a work/school hardship license after 6 months, or reinstatement due to general hardship after 1 year. However, no hardship license will be granted during the term of a Chemical Test Refusal suspension.  This means that if you refused a breathalyzer test as part of your second DUI conviction (which incurs an automatic 3-year suspension), you wouldn’t be able to apply for general hardship for a total of 4 years.

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Additional Breath Test-Related License Loss

• If you are above the age of 21 and refused the Breath Test: 3 years
• If you are under the age of 21 and refused the Breath Test: 3 years + 180 days
• If you are above the age of 21 and failed the Breath Test (+ 0.08): 2 years
• If you are under the age of 21, took the Breath Test and produced a reading of 0.02 or greater: 2 years + 180 days

Hardship License Requirements

Upon entry into the 24D Driver Alcohol Education Program, you can apply for a hardship license during your 45-90 day license loss, subject to the Ignition Interlock Requirement. If you did not receive the Alternative Disposition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24D and suffered a 2-year license loss, you can apply for a hardship license 1-year after the disposition of your case, subject to the Ignition Interlock Requirement. After 18 months from your conviction, you are eligible for a new license on a limited basis with conditions deemed appropriate by the RMV and subject to the Ignition Interlock requirement.


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, especially for a serious fourth OUI charge, 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 reinstatedsubject 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

If your prior offense occurred within the last 10 years, in most instances you can expect the following:

  • Guilty finding with up to 2 years of probation. This probationary period may include a suspended jail sentence.
  • 14-Day Inpatient Program followed by 26 weeks of aftercare.
  • 2-year license loss. You will be eligible for a Hardship License 1 year into this suspension. If you refused the Breath Test, this suspension will begin after your 3-year refusal suspension and you will be eligible for a Hardship License after 4 years.
  • Up to $2100 in Statutory/Probationary Fees. We can get you set up on a payment plan.
  • You will be required to install an Ignition Interlock device—a Breathalyzer in your car—for as long as you are on a Hardship License and for an additional 2 years when you obtain a regular license.

Option 3: Plea / Admit

If your prior offense occurred more than 10 years ago, you may be eligible to receive a First Offender’s Disposition:

  • Guilty finding with a probationary period of up to 2 years.
  • 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 3-year refusal suspension.
  • Up to $2,100 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.
  • You will still be required to install an Ignition Interlock device—a Breathalyzer in your car—for as long as you are on a Hardship License and for an additional 2 years when you obtain a regular license.

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 Second 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: Second Offense OUI

A Second Offense OUI is punishable by jail time. In most cases, however, you will qualify for an alternative disposition that will either include a period of probation or a suspended jail sentence. As part of this disposition, you will be required to attend a 14-Day Inpatient Alcohol Treatment Program. The sentence you receive will depend on the facts of your case, as well as your criminal record.

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.

The Registry of Motor Vehicles does not issue Hardship (or commonly referred to as “Cinderella”) Licenses for Breath Test Refusal or Failure Suspensions. If you refused the Breath Test on a charged Second Offense OUI, your license is suspended for a period of 3 years. If you win your case, upon order of the court, your license will be reinstated.

If your prior offense occurred more than 10 years ago and you resolve your case in a fashion that includes entry into the First Offender’s Alcohol Education Program, you will be eligible for a Hardship License during this period of suspension. You will, however, be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device in your vehicle for the period of suspension, plus 2 years on a new license. If you lose your case, an additional 2-year suspension will be imposed by the court. In this situation, you will not be eligible at the RMV for a Hardship License until 4 years into the aggregate 5-year suspension.

Simply put, an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a handheld Breathalyzer machine in your car. The machine is electronically connected to the vehicle’s ignition and requires that you demonstrate a BAC of less than .02 in order for the vehicle to start. While you are driving, you will also be required to blow into the machine at random intervals. Anyone who has two or more OUIs is required by law to have an IID installed in any vehicle they own, lease or operate. The IID will be required for the duration of any Hardship License, plus two additional years on a regular license. This requirement applies to anyone convicted of a Second Offense OUI, even those whose prior offense occurred more than 10 years ago.

No, the jury will not know that you have a prior OUI. In Massachusetts, subsequent offense OUIs are treated in a bifurcated fashion. You will have a trial on the issue of whether or not you are guilty of operating under the influence of alcohol on the date of your most recent arrest. Only if the Commonwealth proves you guilty of OUI will you move on to a second trial where the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are the same person whom, on a prior occasion, was convicted or sentenced to an alcohol education program for a similar or like offense.

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 Second Offense OUI is not a felony; it is a misdemeanor. You’re still able to find employment with a Second OUI on your record, but it may create some challenges. 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.

Nearly all Second Offense OUI cases are resolved without jail time. It is technically possible under Massachusetts sentencing guidelines for you to receive up to 2.5 years in jail, but time served is rare for a second offense.  Most often, the case can be resolved with either another outcome such as an innocent finding, a dismissal, or an alternative disposition that includes probation and a 14-day confinement in a residential alcohol education program, but no jail time.

Top-Rated Second OUI Defense Lawyers in Massachusetts


Attorney James Milligan is a top-rated Massachusetts Second 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 Second 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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