Massachusetts drivers facing an first-ever OUI charge and those who have been convicted of a DUI | OUI occurring 10 or more years ago can qualify for an alternative DUI disposition known as a “24D – Alcohol Education” agreement. As a first-ever offender, you are presumed to qualify for the 24D disposition, which is technically not a criminal conviction.
Under the 24D disposition, the offender agrees to enter into and complete a state approved alcohol education program instead of facing longer loss of driving privileges, bigger fines and possible jail time.
However, MA drivers facing a first OUI need to understand that getting into a 24D agreement is ultimately at the prosecutor’s and judge’s discretion. Having a trusted and strong OUI advocate in your corner is the best way to ensure that your OUI mistake will not cost you more than is necessary under the law.
Under a 24D program, the offender is given the chance to rehabilitate themselves through extensive alcohol education classes instead of harsher mandatory punishments. If you enter into the 24D, your case will be continued without a finding (CWOF’ed) and recorded with the court and the RMV as “assigned to” an alcohol education program.
While this is not considered a criminal conviction, it is vital to understand that under Melanie’s Law, the commonwealth and RMV will still hold a 24D as a countable OUI offense during the lifetime lookback to establish your priors for sentencing mandates and license sanctions on any future OUI charge.
The good news is that 24D participants can immediately qualify for a conditional or hardship license.
A hardship license is only granted -or denied -through the RMV. If approved, this special license will allow you to drive during pre-determined 12 hour intervals per day for as long as the suspension period is in place.
When Can I Apply for a 24D Hardship License?
Normally, without entering into the 24D, a first-ever offender who pled or was found guilty at trial would have to wait for 3 months until hardship eligibility. That stems from serving the first 3 months on a 1 year DL suspension penalty.
24D participants are eligible to apply for a hardship license after just 3 days from signing the 24D agreement. This typically results in a much better scenario for many people.
If you were allowed to enter a 24D “Second Chance” agreement, note that the following key differences may affect your strategy and best outcome:
- Although the courts will grant 24D alternative dispositions to 2nd OUI offenders if at least 10 years lapsed between incidents, the MA RMV will still count you as “multiple DWI Offender.”
- This means that applying for conditional or hardship license privileges will trigger what’s known as Melanie’s Law…
- Under Melanie’s Law, All 2nd and higher (multiple) DUI offenders must install Ignition Interlock Devices on any vehicles which they may operate.
- The IID will prevent the vehicle from starting until you blow a BAC of less than 0.02%. The IID’s are at the driver’s expense.
- The IID will remain on the vehicle/s for the duration of the hardship period, PLUS 2 years afterwards on what’s known as a “Z” or Restricted License.
If you have been arrested and need answers, call Attorney Greg Oberhauser now to get help from one of the best OUI defense attorneys in Massachusetts.