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DWI, DUI and OUI: What is the Difference in Massachusetts?

Posted on : February 22, 2019

In all states throughout the country, it’s illegal to drink and drive. This is important to know especially if you often travel across state lines or go on vacation, because different states have different approaches to arresting people for DUIs. Sometimes these violations even have different names entirely.

Someone new to Massachusetts might be confused by the term OUI, but in essence, it references the same basic idea of driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

One of the most confusing aspects of being accused of a crime in Massachusetts is that the terminology for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is different than in other states. These abbreviations in Massachusetts generally refer to the same thing, which is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. DWI refers to driving while intoxicated, OUI is operating under the influence, and DUI is driving under the influence. All three of these refer to the same illegal activity of driving while impaired due to having smoked, ingested or otherwise consumed an impairing substance, whether legal or illegal.

In Massachusetts, an OUI is defined as operating a motor vehicle on a public road or any location in which the public has the right of access, while under the influence of alcohol at 0.08% blood alcohol content or higher, or being under the influence of depressants, drugs, stimulants or glue vapors. Minors who driver while impaired and commercial vehicle drivers are subject to lower BAC limits. The reason that Massachusetts uses the term OUI is DWI and DUI both refer to driving, implying that the vehicle must be moving before the law applies.

You could satisfy the Massachusetts grounds of operation by doing a lot less than you think so you need to consult with an attorney immediately if you’ve already been accused of OUI. Massachusetts uses what is known as a graduated system of consequences depending on the number of previous OUI convictions on your record. You need to understand all possible penalties and consult directly with an experienced lawyer to understand how an OUI can affect your freedom and your driving future.   

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