If you live in New England or will be traveling to Massachusetts in the near future, you should read a little about the laws in that state. If you plan to purchase alcohol and have a drink or two at home or out in a bar, knowing the alcohol-related laws will help you to avoid any legal problems. If you do find yourself in trouble, you should contact a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney right away.
As you know, DUI laws and penalties vary from state to state. To avoid ruining your life and maybe losing your freedom, just don’t drink and drive. And when heading out to buy beer, wine or liquor, or to drink in a bar, know what’s legal and what’s not.
Sale and Purchase of Alcohol in Massachusetts
According to an article in early 2017 in the Boston Globe, Massachusetts lawmakers and many of the state’s residents have pushed for tougher alcohol laws out of fear that loose laws will lead to more deaths and injuries related to alcohol consumption. Public health advocates have pushed for “higher taxes on alcohol to fund youth drinking prevention efforts, restrictions on advertising and displaying booze, limits on when alcohol can be sold…harsher penalties for bars that sell to minors, mandatory training for alcohol servers, and a prohibition on bartenders younger than 21” according to the Globe.
Currently in Massachusetts, people aged 21 or older may buy beer, wine and liquor at grocery stores Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Many health officials want to eliminate Sunday beer, wine and liquor sales altogether. Bars close at 2:00 a.m. every day of the week in Massachusetts, and, again, health officials would like to see bars closed on Sundays.
DUI Law in Massachusetts
Here is what you can expect following your first DUI arrest in Massachusetts:
An arraignment is your first formal appearance in court. When you get to the courthouse, the first thing you will do is report to the Probation Department.
Once you report to the Probation Department, you will meet with a Probation Officer and he or she will ask you a series of questions. These questions are intended to get your criminal background together and assess your eligibility for a court-appointed lawyer (public defender).
When the questioning is complete, you will be directed to the First Session/Main Session courtroom, where you will wait for your case to be called. When your case is called, the court clerk will read off the complaint and enter a plea of “Not Guilty” on your behalf. The judge will then continue your case to a date for a “Pre-Trial Conference.” Depending on the facts of your case and your criminal record, you may have to post bail.
If convicted of DUI, you can expect the following in Massachusetts:
- Driver’s license suspension of 45-90 days
- License reinstatement fee of $50-$1,200, depending on your case
- Possible jail time of up to 2.5 years
- Possible alcohol education program
- Drivers under 18 years old must attend a Youth Alcohol Program (YAP) and serve an additional license suspension of one year.
Your second and subsequent DUI convictions result in more severe penalties.
You definitely don’t want to go through the DUI process alone and without legal representation; for this reason, it’s important to contact a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney with experience in DUI cases as soon as possible.