You probably already know that criminal penalties increase with the number of previous charges a person has had. Getting arrested a third time for the same offense will have far more consequences than a first-time charge. Even with offenses that don’t involve violence, repeat offenders can face major consequences.
In some states, impaired driving offenses come off of someone’s record after a specific number of years. While the criminal blemish of a drunk-driving conviction might remain, the previous offenses no longer affect someone’s rights when it comes to sentencing. Massachusetts does not limit how long police officers and prosecutors can look back at your driving record. Any impaired driving offense can haunt you for the rest of your life.
Even if it has been years since your last offense, you will face repeat offender penalties. How does Massachusetts specifically penalize second and third driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses?
The second offense carries a higher fine and more jail time than a first offense
If you get arrested for impaired driving a second time, the penalties that you face increase. The fines go up to between $600 and $10,000. Jail time is more likely with a second impaired driving conviction.
A judge can sentence you to anywhere from 60 days to 30 months in prison. In some cases, the judge may recommend probation instead, or order drug or alcohol classes, as well as therapy. You could lose your license for two years after a second DWI conviction.
A third DWI carries severe penalties
If you get arrested for drunk driving with two previous convictions on your record, the minimum fine you will pay is $1,000. The maximum fine goes up to $15,000. You can face between 180 days and five years of incarceration. There is usually a minimum sentence of at least 150 days served before release is an option. The length of time that you lose your license will also increase to eight years.
The increasing penalties are a good reason to defend against the second or third DWI charge. They are also a very good reason to fight back against a first charge so that you don’t have to worry about facing more serious penalties in the future.