In Massachusetts, DUI first offenders may get what is known as a 24D disposition for the first drunk driving (DUI) offense. Mass. 24D first offender dispositions are granted pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 24D which allows for the case to be continued without a finding and the placement of the defendant on probation for not more than 2 years. It also requires the enrollment in and successful completion of a driver alcohol education program. One of the major benefits of the 24D program is that the statutory one year DUI license suspension may be reduced to 45 to 90 days, with the possibility of obtaining a hardship license during the suspension period. Also, a DUI First Offender disposition will generally make the first offender eligible for consideration for a hardship license during the breathalyzer refusal suspension, if there is one. The goal of the First Offender Drunk Driving program is to reduce alcohol related highway fatalities and for DUI first offenders to take responsibility for their previous drinking and driving behaviors so that they stop driving after drinking. The Massachusetts 24D program replaces incarceration and punishment with treatment and alcohol education, to prevent future DUI arrests.
DUI first offenders must take an approved and certified driver alcohol education program. The program costs approximately $600.00 and it generally consists of an intake interview, 32 hours of group therapy over a 16 week period, an introduction to self-help groups such as AA, and a powerful victim impact session with speakers from MADD. The last part of the program consists of an exit interview where participants receive recommendations for any necessary aftercare and support. Massachusetts First offenders are eligible to be considered for a hardship license upon enrollment into the program; it is not necessary to wait until the program has been completed. However, failing to attend the program will result in the immediate revocation of any hardship license. DUI First Offender programs are located throughout Massachusetts.
The RMV has stated that “although an applicant may meet all requirements, issuance of a hardship license is only granted at the reasonable discretion of the RMV, based on the facts of the case.” Therefore, it is advisable to have an attorney review your case. Our License Suspension Lawyers provide this free service, all you have to do is call or e-mail.
The First Offender program is only available to those who have no prior convictions or program assignments, or those who have a conviction or alcohol program assignment that is more than ten (10) year old. Contact a license suspension lawyer for more information. Also, the Mass. Registry requires proof of completion of the appropriate DUI alcohol program for the issuance of a hardship license.