The license suspension penalties in an OUI case are tougher for drivers who are minors or under 21. In Particular, refusing to take a breath test will result in a 3 year suspended driver’s license.

The Massachusetts Registry also has what is called a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving for those who are not of the legal drinking age of 21. They will consider you to have failed at .02% BAC (it is a .08% BAC legal limit for those over 21). Many people can register a .02 on a breathalyzer after only one drink.

If you are under 21, or your child is a minor and has been arrested for OUI, call me immediately for a free legal consultation. I will let you know what I can do to protect against a future criminal record and other consequences.

OUI Criminal Charge vs. Mass License Suspension Issues with Underage Charges

The actual criminal court OUI case is the same as if you were 21 or older. It is only the Registry and driver’s license suspension issues that are different.

All defense strategies still apply in an underage OUI arrest. The prosecutor must establish all the elements of the charge, including that the reason for the stop was be legitimate, and they must be able to prove that you were driving the vehicle. For many people, it makes sense to fight the charge in court, since the impact of carrying a criminal conviction for the rest of your life can be substantial.

Please call me for a consultation on your minor DUI case, and I’ll help you work through your best options and opportunities for a defense, or to minimize the severity of any penalties.

Massachusetts Under 21 OUI Arrest – Laws and Penalties

Penalty for Refusing the Breath Test (under 21)

  • License Suspended for 3 years for Refusal

Penalty for Failing the Breath Test (.02 BAC under 21)

  • License Suspended for 30 days for Failure

Maximum OUI Penalties (under 21)

  • Jail: Not more than 2 1/2 years House of Correction
  • Fine: $500-$5,000
  • License suspended for 1 year (consecutive with breath test suspension)

Typical OUI / DUI Penalty (under 21)

  • Plead to Continuance without a Finding.
  • Fines and court fees (over $2500 in total)
  • Unsupervised probation for one year.
  • License suspended for 210 days (not including breath test suspension)
  • 16 week alcohol education program (one session per week)
  • If BAC result is .20 or higher, you must take a 2 week mandatory, inpatient alcohol treatment program.
  • Hardship license issues can be more complicated.

Juvenile Court DUI

Juvenile courts now take cases for drunk driving cases if the defendant is 17 or younger.  Rules differences include:

  • The defendant may not have to appear in court. A lawyer can represent a child, because they would rather have a kid in school that to miss a day to show up in court.
  • Court rules are different. The court is a closed session. It is cleared, so there are other lawyers, reporters, or gallery attendees present, just the prosecutor, the judge, and courtroom workers.
  • If probation is the result, as is typical, a minor will likely have to appear in person before his or her probation officer every two weeks. In adults, it is only a monthly check-in, and often not in person.

If you are under 18 (designated as a Junior Operator by the RMV), you face license suspension for speeding, or any other traffic offenses. See the Registry’s Junior Operator Penalties page.

Hardship License for Under 21

You are still eligible for a Massachusetts hardship license for an under 21 OUI, but Registry hearings officers may be less inclined to grant one. Representation at a hearing by an experienced lawyer can help.

The consequences of any OUI conviction on your record are significant, and sometimes even more so for minors. A criminal record can impact future career opportunities, scholarships, and a host of other issues that may impact your life.

Call me know for a free legal consultation on an underage OUI criminal charge. Criminal defense is all I do, so even if you have a family lawyer, you should strongly consider talking with someone who fights OUI cases every day. Call now to find out what I can do to help you with a drunk driving or other juvenile alcohol offense.

Russell Matson
(781)380-7730 – 24 hours a day



Call me for a free consultation at – 781.380.7730

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44 Adams St, Suite 5
Braintree, MA 02184

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