Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Operating Under the Influence (OUI) are often assumed to be interchangeable. But while they are very similar charges, there are slight differences. In an OUI state like Massachusetts, operating under the influence is a broader definition, unlike DWI (Driving While Under the Influence), where actually driving under the influence has to be proven.
If operating under the influence, even if the car is pulled over, the keys only have to be in the ignition for the charge to stick. If an intoxicated driver has pulled over for a rest, taking the keys out of the ignition can prevent arrest.
Stricter Laws for Repeat Offenders
Stricter laws in Massachusetts came about following the death of 13 year old Melanie Powell who was killed by a repeat offender. They specifically target repeat OUIs, introducing a breathalyzer Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to be installed in the automobiles of second offenders.
Additional Drug and Alcohol Laws
In Massachusetts drug and alcohol laws extend beyond typical OUI laws. For example, the Open Container Law means that it’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle with an open container of alcohol anywhere in the vehicle. Also Operating Under the Influence covers prescription and illegal drugs as well as alcohol, meaning you could face a conviction for being impaired for any of these reasons just as you would for drunk driving.
OUI Cases in Massachusetts are complex. If you are facing an OUI charge, the attorneys at Murphy & Rudolf LLP have the experience to defend your case. Please contact us today.