Operating Under the Influence of an Intoxicating Liquor (OUI Alcohol) is a common crime in Massachusetts but one that could have real consequences if you are convicted. One of the consequences of conviction could include a one-year license suspension, something that could have a big impact on work, school, and family life.
Fortunately, if you are charged with an OUI there are ways to get your case dismissed without formally admitting to any guilt. One of these ways is called a 24D Disposition.
What is a 24D Disposition?
Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 90, Section 24D, first and certain qualifying second offense OUI offenders can receive a 24D Disposition. A 24D Disposition is an tender of plea that has the case continued without a finding or a guilty conviction while the defendant is put on probation and participates in an Alcohol Education Program.
If all of the conditions of probation have been met and the accused person successfully completes the Alcohol Education Program, the case will be dismissed with no admission to criminal wrongdoing.
Who qualifies for a 24D Disposition?
You qualify for a 24D Disposition if you meet at least one of these criteria:
- You have been charged with a first offense OUI
- You were convicted of a first offense OUI 10 or more years ago and you have been charged with a second offense
What will I learn at an Alcohol Education Program?
The purpose of the Alcohol Education Program is to reduce drunk driving accidents on the roads by educating OUI offenders about the importance of driving sober. The program is designed to teach people about alcohol abuse and the importance of safe driving through therapy sessions, informational classes, and motivational speakers.
How long is the program and what will I have to do?
The Alcohol Education Program typically consists of the following:
How much does an Alcohol Education Program cost?
The price varies, but the cost of an Alcohol Education Programs is typically between $600 and $700. It is your responsibility, not the court’s, to pay.
What are the programs and how do I sign up?
You are only allowed to participate in a state-approved Alcohol Education Program. Fortunately, programs are available in every county of Massachusetts and in many cities and towns across the state.
You can sign up for a program by calling, emailing, or visiting the program’s website most convenient for you. Keep in mind that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many programs will be conducted virtually over videoconference. Hours vary depending on which program you sign up for.
What happens to my license if I agree to a 24D Disposition?
Under a 24D Disposition, your license or right to operate a motor vehicle will be automatically suspended for a minimum of 45 days and a maximum of 90 days. This suspension does not include any time a license was suspended prior to arraignment. Also remember that 45-90 days is much shorter than the one-year period of suspension that typically results from a conviction.
Another benefit of opting for a 24D Disposition is that with a 24D Disposition, participants are eligible to apply for a hardship license just 3 days after signing on to the agreement. A hardship license a special, temporary license issued by the Registry of Motor Vehicles that allows a person whose license has been suspended to drive during a pre-determined 12-hour interval each day for a “hardship” (i.e. getting to work, dropping off a child at school, etc.). If you are convicted of a first offense OUI, you would have to wait 3 months to apply for a hardship license.
Besides the program, what else do I have to do with a 24D Disposition?
Agreeing to a 24D Disposition means that you are going to be placed on probation for at least a year. The 24D program requires a probation between 12-24 months. While you are on probation, you must report monthly to the court and pay a monthly probation fee. You are also responsible for complying with any other terms and conditions that the court orders you to follow.
At the beginning of the 45-90 day license suspension you will need to hand your license over to your probation officer. When that 45-90-day license suspension concludes, then you must return to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to re-instate your license.
Keep in mind that if you do not attend the required Alcohol Education Program, the Registry will revoke your hardship license and you will have to appear back in court for a probation violation hearing.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH AN OUI, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.