Massachusetts has, what amounts to, a zero tolerance policy if you are under 21 years old. You will fail the test if you record a .02 on a breath test. Essentially, if you have any alcohol whatsoever, you will fail the test. Consequences of failure? Loss of license for 180 days.

Over 21? The threshold for failure is .08. However, if you do fail the consequences are loss of license for 30 days or until the case is disposed of either by trial, dismissal or a plea. You should also know that the vehicle will be impounded for 12 hours following arrest. Don’t bother having a friend or family member try to pick up your car; it won’t work. Your car will remain in police custody for 12 full hours.

The Draconian measures of the current Drunk Driving rules are not at all pleasant. For example, if you are over 21 and are convicted of your first offense you may lose your license for one year and be on probation for three years. There is also the possibility of incarceration for up to 2.5 years.

There is a program for first offenders that is know as the “24D” program. If you agree to enroll in an approved alcohol education program license loss is 45 – 90 days. In addition, you can be eligible for a 12 hour Hardship License to get to work or school during the loss of license period.

Not only is all of this an awful position to be in, the fact is that a drunk driving conviction stays with you almost forever. The second, and subsequent offense, get more and more severe.

The short story is simply this: If you are stopped on a drunk driving charge, going it alone can be a disaster! Be sure to get counsel right away.

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