Massachusetts OUI (Operating Under the Influence) laws protect the public by making driving while intoxicated a serious criminal offense. Motorists caught driving under the influence (DUI) face fines and possibly criminal penalties. The more DUI offenses a Massachusetts driver has, the more severe the penalties become.
Defining Driving Under the Influence
Massachusetts OUI laws define driving under the influence as operating a motor vehicle with:
o A blood alcohol content of.08 or greater OR
o A blood alcohol content of.02 or greater if the driver is under 21 OR
o Under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants, stimulants, or glue vapors.
Massachusetts OUI laws provide for fines, probation, possible jail time, and driver’s license revocation for 1 year for first time offenders. Subsequent convictions can mean harsher penalties and could elevate the negligent driver to felony level charges.
Suing a Drunk Driver in Massachusetts
Unfortunately, most victims of serious DUI accidents cannot afford to pay the difference between what auto insurance companies will provide and the total amount of medical bills they will face.
As a victim of a Massachusetts DUI accident, it is your right to sue the driver for negligence in civil court even while criminal charges are pending. You are entitled to recover the full amount of your personal injuries, which may include time lost from work, long-term care, and other expenses. It is important to keep in mind that drunk drivers will most likely face fines as well as jail time because of their negligence and may not be able to pay the full judgment that you are awarded.
Massachusetts DUI Accidents: Determining Liability
A driver must be found legally responsible for the Massachusetts drunk driving accident in order to be made to pay compensation to the victim. The case may be that other people-in addition to the driver-can be held legally responsible for a drunk-driving victim’s injuries.
If the driver was served alcohol by someone who knew the driver was already intoxicated, that person could also be held liable to the accident victim and therefore responsible for compensating the victim under Massachusetts law. This applies equally to people in bars and restaurants as well as people at parties and private gatherings.
As a victim, it is important that you determine all responsible parties in order to maximize your recovery and ensure your expenses are covered. This is why it is so critical to make sure you do not sign any settlements with a representative of an insurance company prior to speaking with your Massachusetts personal injury attorney.