Police officers in Massachusetts can arrest people who demonstrate clear signs of impairment while driving. Someone who swerves all over the road and demonstrates diminished decision-making abilities at the wheel could face operating under the influence (OUI) charges based on their conduct while in control of a vehicle.
Many others arrested for a Massachusetts OUI offense face allegations that they violated the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit enshrined in state law. Someone does not need to be visibly intoxicated for the state to prosecute them for an OUI offense. They simply need to be over the BAC limit given their age and license type. There are actually three different BAC limits that apply in different circumstances in Massachusetts. Knowing the rules limiting someone’s BAC can help people plan the best defense strategy given their circumstances.
Different drivers face different enforcement risks
Adults driving their own passenger vehicles have the highest BAC limit. Someone who is over the age of 21 can legally consume alcohol. They can also legally drive if they only had a single drink. However, the more someone drinks, the higher their BAC rises.
Once it reaches 0.08%, a driver is at risk of prosecution. The state will not need to show that they struggle to safely operate a vehicle. Instead, it is only necessary to prove that someone was at or over the legal limit for their BAC.
Some adults are subject to a stricter rule than that because they are not in a passenger vehicle. Someone operating a commercial vehicle like a semi-truck or bus is subject to a stricter BAC limit. Commercial drivers operating commercial vehicles can get arrested for OUI offenses if their BAC is at or over 0.04%.
Young adults and new drivers are subject to the strictest limits of any motorists in Massachusetts. The Zero-Tolerance law for underage drivers can lead to criminal prosecution of a minor if someone has a BAC of 0.02% or higher. A single drink could potentially be enough to lead to a teenager’s arrest for an OUI in Massachusetts.
Learning more about the specific laws in Massachusetts can help people choose the most effective strategy for defending against OUI charges.