OUI Second Offense
If you are charged with a second or subsequent drunk driving offense, call Springfield OUI lawyer Dan Daly at Daly Law, P.C. immediately to begin formulating an effective defense strategy and to protect your rights. Attorney Daly assists clients throughout all courthouses east of Worcester to the Berkshires.
An OUI 2nd Offense is an extremely serious charge that carries mandatory minimum jail time if convicted as well as a lengthy loss of license. All the same elements of a first offense are at play, with the added element that a person must have a prior conviction for impaired driving at the time of the new offense. MA has a “lifetime lookback” statute which means that any prior offense - regardless of how old it is - will be sufficient to charge a 2nd offense. Unfortunately, even a first offense that was CWOF’d (continued without a finding of guilt) and subsequently dismissed will be sufficient to file charges. For any subsequent OUI charge, there are essentially two trials. The first trial deals with whether the accused was operating under the influence. If the Government is able to sustain their burden of proof on this issue, the second trial (sometimes referred to as “the trial within a trial”) begins which is focused exclusively on whether the accused has a “prior conviction.”
An OUI 2nd Offense is largely defended in the same manner as a first offense because of the fact that the trial is bifurcated (as mentioned above) to avoid prejudice to the accused. While the goal is to win at the first level of trial, if a judge or jury arrives at a guilty verdict during the first stage, there is still often a fight to have with respect to whether the Government can prove an underlying conviction.
On that point, it is absolutely imperative that the discovery process is fully exhausted to examine the evidence - prior to trial - that the Government intends to offer to prove the underlying conviction. Particularly with prior convictions that occurred out of state or are from many years ago, there can sometimes be difficulty for prosecutors to obtain the required “certified” conviction that must be introduced at trial. Even when the Government is able to obtain a proper certified conviction, an effective defense can often be raised if the personal identifying information on it (such as the name, address, and/or the date of birth of the accused) does not match the information that was elicited at trial. In instances like this where there is a discrepancy, the Government should call a witness with personal knowledge of the first offense to testify at the trial. If they do not do this, the defense may have enough ammunition to cast reasonable doubt and defeat the second offense enhancement.
Some 2nd Offense OUI cases may be resolved via a CAHILL DISPOSITION. A Cahill disposition allows second offenders whose first offense/underlying conviction occurred over ten years ago to be treated as a first offender and thereby avoid the harsh criminal penalties that apply to a 2nd Offense. Even with a Cahill disposition, an Ignition Interlock Device is required in order to restore one’s driving privileges.
If convicted of an OUI 2nd Offense, the following penalties apply:
- A potential jail sentence of 60 days (this is a minimum mandatory sentence of which 30 days must be served) up to 2.5 years and a fine ranging from $600 up to $10,000.
- An alternative sentence consisting of a 14-day inpatient hospitalization can be imposed to avoid the minimum mandatory jail time.
- A 2 year loss of license (an ignition interlock device is required once a person is eligible to get their driving privileges restored)
Contact Springfield OUI lawyer Attorney Dan Daly today for a free no-obligation case evaluation today.