Cape Cod DUI Attorneys

Charged with underage drunk driving?
Act fast and get help.

Underage OUI can have long lasting impacts. Your child deserves a strong defense.

Facing an underage DUI charge is no small matter. Drivers under the legal drinking age in Massachusetts face harsh consequences that can have lasting effects on their lives. 

Since the enactment of Melanie’s Law on October 28, 2005, persons under the age of 21 find themselves in a much different position than persons of legal drinking age when charged with an OUI. For instance, if your son is under 21 and he refused the Breath Test, he will face not only a Breath Test refusal suspension of 3-years, but a suspension of at least 180 days under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90 § 24P, the Junior Operator Law (JOL). 

If your child is under the age of 21 and has recently been charged with an OUI, it’s important that you have a full understanding of the potential penalties that they will face before you make any decisions. If you’d like to speak directly with Cape Cod DUI Attorneys Milligan and Higgins regarding your son or daughter’s situation, please submit a Free Case Evaluation or call (508) 930-4273.


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

Penalties for Underage DUI

While there are harsher licensing consequences for persons under the age of 21, the maximum penalties for DUI are the same as those for persons of legal drinking age:

  • 1st Offense DUI: Up to 2 ½ years in a house of correction and a fine between $500 to $5,000.
  • 2nd Offense DUI: 30 days to 2 ½ years in a house of correction and a fine between $600 and $10,000.
  • 3rd Offense DUI: 150 days to 2 ½ years in a house of correction and a fine between $1,000 and $15,000; Up to 5 years in state prison if indicted and prosecuted as a Youthful Offender.
  • 4th Offense DUI: 2 to 2 ½ years in a house of correction and a fine between $1,500 and $25,000. Up to 5 years in state prison if indicted and prosecuted as a Youthful Offender.

     

However, most 1st and 2nd offense DUIs result in the Alternative Disposition, which means your child won’t serve jail time. Instead, they’ll be placed on probation for up to two years:

  • 1st Offense DUI Alternative Disposition: Up to 2 years of probation. Requirement to complete the First Offender alcohol driver education program, otherwise known as the 24D Program.  If your child took the Breathalyzer and generated a result of .20 or higher, they will have to attend the 14-Day Inpatient program, or otherwise known as the Second Offender program.

  • 2nd Offense DUI Alternative Disposition: Up to 2 years of probation. Requirement to attend a 14-day inpatient residential alcohol treatment program and participate in outpatient aftercare. The court must make written findings that treatment is appropriate for your child in order to make this option available.

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Underage DUI & Your Child's License

Massachusetts has a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to under age drinking. Since the enactment of Melanie’s Law, people under the legal drinking age face harsher license suspension penalties for DUI than those over the age of 21. Individuals under the legal drinking age can have a BAC as low as 0.02% and lose their license for a length period of time.

It is important to note that if your child is between the ages of 18 and 21, they will be tried in the Cape as an adult. They are still, however, subject to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90 § 24P, also known as the Junior Operator Law (JOL), because they are under the legal drinking age.

Breath Test Refusal Under 21

If your child is between the ages of 18 and 21 and refuses a breath test at a Cape Cod traffic stop, their license will be suspended for:

  • 1st Offense DUI: 3-year Refusal Suspension + 180-day JOL Suspension
  • 2nd Offense DUI: 3-year Refusal Suspension + 180-day JOL Suspension
  • 3rd Offense DUI: 5-year Refusal Suspension + 180-day JOL Suspension
  • 4th Offense DUI: Lifetime Refusal Suspension + 180-day JOL Suspension


If your child is
under the age of 18 and refuses a breath test, their license will be suspended for:

  • 1st Offense DUI: 3-year Refusal Suspension + 1-year JOL Suspension
  • 2nd Offense DUI: 3-year Refusal Suspension + 1-year JOL Suspension
  • 3rd Offense DUI: 5-year Refusal Suspension + 1-year JOL Suspension
  • 4th Offense DUI: Lifetime Refusal Suspension + 1-year JOL Suspension


NOTE:
If you win your case, upon order of the court you can get out from under the Refusal Suspension. Additionally, the JOL Suspension can be waived upon entry into the First Offender’s Alcohol Education Program.

Breath Test Failure Under 21

Drivers of legal drinking age must produce a breath test result of 0.08% or greater to be considered a “failure.” That is not the case for persons under the age of 21. If an underage driver meets or exceeds just 0.02% BAC on a breathalyzer test, he or she has failed under Massachusetts law.

While a result of 0.08% or greater is still necessary to prove your child guilty in a criminal OUI case in Cape Cod, a 0.02% reading is all that is necessary to suspend their driver’s license when an underage driver has consented to the Breathalyzer Test. Under the Junior Operator Law (JOL), the duration of the license suspension will include the standard 30 days plus an additional period that depends upon the driver’s age:

  • Ages 18-21: 30 Days + 180-day JOL Suspension
  • Under 18: 30 Days + 1-year JOL Suspension


NOTE:
Upon entry into the First Offender’s Alcohol Education Program, the JOL suspension may be waived in its entirety for persons between 18 and 21, and reduced to 180 days for persons under the age of 18.

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.

Criminal Records & Driving Records

The impact of a misdemeanor or felony on your child’s records will partially depend upon their age at the time of the arrest. Remember, a DUI does not mean your child’s life is over. People from all walks of life are charged with DUI. Many of them move on and lead very successful lives.

Criminal record offender information (CORI) is typically only accessible to law enforcement. However, employers and landlords may require an individual to grant them permission to view a CORI as part of an application. You and your child may view their CORI as well. 

While criminal records in Cape Cod cases can be sealed, Massachusetts RMV records cannot. A DUI is considered a criminal moving violation and remains on a Massachusetts driving record permanently. A DUI on your child’s driving record will be reported to their insurance company as well as to other government agencies. These records are available to prospective employers.

Records Over 18

Drivers over the age of 18 at the time of the arrest may be underage to consume alcohol, but they are legal adults and will be considered such in court. A 1st and 2nd Offense OUI is considered a misdemeanor under Massachusetts law unless the case involves death or serious bodily injury. A 3rd and 4th Offense OUI is always a felony offense. 

If your child was over the age of 18 at the time of their arrest, a conviction for DUI will stay on both their Massachusetts criminal record and driving record permanently.  You can, however, petition the court to seal their criminal record.  There is no mechanism to seal a driving record, which is maintained by the RMV and separate from their criminal record.

Records Under 18

Drivers who are under the age of 18 at the time of the arrest are considered juveniles in Massachusetts. Juvenile DUI offenses are typically prosecuted in the juvenile court system.  If the DUI offense, however, results in death or serious bodily injury, the juvenile can be prosecuted as though he or she were an adult, pursuant to the Youthful Offender statute.

Juvenile records do not appear on criminal background checks.  However, if your child is found delinquent or receives a Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF), the OUI will forever appear on their driving record.

Sealing Your Child’s Criminal Records

A Cape Cod DUI attorney will defend your child’s rights in court and attempt to get them a favorable outcome at trial. If your child receives a verdict of “Not Guilty” or their case is dismissed, a lawyer can help them seal their record.

Understandably, many parents want to know if their child’s records can be wiped clean if they are convicted of DUI or if they receive a Continuance Without a Finding (CWOF). It’s also common for parents to ask if their child’s record can ever be “expunged.”  Massachusetts no longer has an expungement statute.  The closest thing you can achieve would be the sealing of the record.

Sealed records are not “wiped clean,” but they are made more confidential. Sealed records are generally only accessible to law enforcement. Lawyers and law enforcement will only be informed that the record is sealed if they inquire. Anyone else will be told that the individual has no record.

Juvenile DUI Defense

A DUI or OUI conviction and the loss of your child’s license can impact your child’s life. It may make it more difficult for them to get to work, get to school, visit family, and possibly get a job. But it doesn’t mean their future is over.

People from all walks of life are charged with DUI every day. Many of them get through the process and go on to lead normal, successful lives. Your child’s DUI case is unique. An experienced Cape Cod DUI attorney can review their case, help you formulate a plan of action, and defend your child’s rights in court.

The burden of proof rests with the prosecution, which means your child is presumed innocent unless they can prove your child’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney will argue your child’s case at trial so your child could possibly receive a more favorable outcome, such as a verdict of “Not Guilty” or a dismissal of the case.

Top-Rated OUI Defense Lawyers in Massachusetts

ATTORNEY JAMES MILLIGAN

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.

ATTORNEY JOSEPH J. HIGGINS

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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