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January 25, 2018

What Are The Consequences Of Being Convicted Of Criminal Drugged Driving Or DUI In Boston?


Although Boston residents voted in 2012 to legalize the use of medical marijuana, they didn’t think through all the consequences. As the legal details are still being determined, what happens if you are driving under the influence of legal marijuana?

What are Boston Drugged driving laws?

According to Massachusetts law, someone who is driving while under the influence of drugs is committing a criminal offense. Drugs are not just those that are illegal or narcotics, stimulants, or glue; they also include marijuana - regardless of whether you are using it for legal reasons or not.

When you take drugs, they remain in your bloodstream far longer than alcohol. There are times when drugs can be detectable in someone’s system for many days. That poses a problem for those who take medical marijuana.

Since the marijuana might be detectable for days after the person has taken it, if you are tested for being suspected of drugged driving, those drugs in your system might be from days ago and not a real or fair detection of being currently impaired.

That means that if you are tested for drugs, if you have taken drugs days before, there is no way to know when you took them. And you can be charged with an OUI, which means operating a vehicle while being on under the influence of drugs.

DUI charges in Boston are predominantly determined by someone’s BAC (blood alcohol content). When you are suspected of drinking and driving, the officer will have you blow into a breathalyzer. If your BAC is more than 0.08%, then you can legally be charged with a DUI based on the test results alone.


When it comes to drugs, there are no clear constraints on how to measure if someone is impaired and under the influence of narcotics based solely on a blood test, which muddles the whole system for criminal charges of OUI in Boston.   

What are the penalties if you are charged with an OUI?

A first-time OUI charge can come with some substantial consequences. You can have penalties that equal $5,000 or more and face the potential to have your license suspended. It is also possible for you to be put into prison for up to 30 days. 


If you are convicted more than once, the penalties increase significantly. If you have a fifth or sixth conviction, then you can face up to five years behind bars and as much as $50,000 in fines, with the potential of losing your license permanently. If you are convicted of an OUI, then it might be possible to have your charges reduced if you participate in a drug counseling program or you complete a drug rehabilitation program.

If you are accused of driving while drugged in Boston, it is a criminal offense. But there are many gray areas that exist. Unlike being charged with a criminal DUI, a OUI isn’t as straightforward or clear-cut. If you have a reason to be using marijuana and you have the legal prescription for it, then the court might be more lenient on the charges.

What to do if you are charged with a DUI or OUI in Boston

The first thing that you will want to do when charged with either a DUI or an OUI is to hire a lawyer who specializes in one or the other. The type of defense that you would use for a DUI defense differs from the one that you will use in an OUI. Depending on what the type and concentration is of the drugs found in your system and when the test is taken, there might be grounds to have your case thrown out. If there is no way for law enforcement to prove that you were driving impaired, then the charges of an OUI in some instances will not stand.

Because being charged with either criminal OUI or criminal DUI in Boston is severe and carries stiff penalties, a criminal record, and in some cases jail time, it is imperative to hire a Boston criminal attorney who specializes in DUI or OUI criminal law.  

The views and opinions expressed herein are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect those of EconMatters.

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