MA DUI and the life time look back rule
Picture of lifetime taken by Ben Fredrickson
If you are arrested for a DUI in MA, it is critical to know what number offense you are being charged. The MA DUI penalties for the number of offense increase dramatically. Obviously, a first offense is much better than a second offense and so on.
The reason is that for a first offense MA DUI the penalties are a potential jail penalty, a fine, or an alternative sentence. The alternative sentence is probation for 1 year and a requirement to take the 90 24D alcohol class. The first offender MA DUI program and alternative sentence is a good disposition verses the penalties for the subsequent MA DUI offenses. If you are charged with a second offense MA DUI, you can face not less than 60 days in the house of corrections.
For second offense MA DUI charge, there is still a possibility of you avoiding jail time by agreeing to attend a 2 week inpatient alcohol program. For 3rd offense MA DUI and greater, there are mandatory jail sentence penalties that you cannot avoid.
In MA, there use to be a 10 year look back rule for DUI cases. Under the MA DUI 10 year look back rule if you are charged with a DUI in MA, the district attorney would look at your record for the last 10 years. If you don’t have any DUI charges for the last 10 years, the district attorney would charge you with a DUI first offense.
With the Melanie laws the 10 year look back rule in a thing of the past. In MA, the district attorney now uses the life time look back rule. This means that if you pick up a new DUI in MA, the district attorney will look back at your entire criminal history. Even if you only had a DUI 50 years ago and been out of trouble, you will still be charged with a DUI second offense.