DWI as Defined by Massachusetts Law

  • If there is a BAC of 0.08 or more.
  • If under 21 years of age, you will face license suspensions for BAC as low as 0.02.

More information can be found in the Drunk Driving Highlights.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens to your driver's license if you refuse to take a chemical test (breath or blood) when stopped?

Your driver's license will be immediately suspended for a last 180 days and possibility for life.  Your vehicle will also be impounded.  You will need to go to court to face criminal charges.

What if I'm carrying passengers younger than 14 years old or younger and convicted of a DWI?

You will be charged with two crimes at the same time; Operating Under the Influence (OUI) and Child Endangerment while OUI.  The penalties increase to a minimum 90 days in prison, fines from $1000 to $5000 and loss of your license for 1 year.

If I'm physically fit, will my Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) be lower?

No, your BAC can be affected by your weight, how much your drink and how much time passes between drinks.

Will drinking coffee, exercising, or taking a cold shower reduce my BAC?

No, you must wait for your body to metabolize the alcohol. That takes time.

What if a passenger is drinking in the car with me, but I'm not drinking?

It's illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your vehicle if you're driving or parked on a public highway.

DWI Punishments

The potential punishment varies based on how many previous convictions you've had.  Previous convictions stay on your driving record forever!

A First Offense:

  • Loss of driver's license up to a year.
  • Fine from $500 to $5,000.
  • Prison Term - up to 2 1/2 years.

Your Second Offense:

  • Loss of driver's license up to a year.
  • Fine from $600 to $10,000.
  • Prison Term minimum 30 days up to 2 1/2 years

Your Third Offense:

  • Loss of driver license - 8 years.
  • Fine from $1,000 to $15,000.
  • Prison Term - miniumum 150 days up to 5 years


For more information read the Massachusetts Law about Drunk Driving.