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Section 24L of the Massachusetts General Laws specifically addresses serious bodily injury by motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance. This substance is not limited to alcohol; it can also include marijuana, other narcotic drugs, depressants, stimulant substances, as well as the vapors of glue.

Under §24L (1) of the Massachusetts General Laws it states the following:

  • Whoever operates a motor vehicle in any place where the public has a right of access as invitees or licensees with liquor, marijuana, narcotics, depressants or stimulants or the vapors of glue in their system, and does so in a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger the safety or lives of the public, and by such operation actually causes serious bodily injury, shall be incarcerated in state prison for 2.5 years to 10 years, and fined not to exceed $10,000, or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for a minimum of 6 months, but not more than 2.5 years and a fine not to exceed $5,000.

Section 24L (2) is as follows:

  • Whoever operates a motor vehicle in a place in which the public has the right of access as invitees or licensees, operates their vehicle while under the influence of liquor, marijuana, narcotic drugs, stimulants, depressants, or the vapors of glue, and while operating under the influence causes serious bodily injury, then they shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for a minimum of 2.5 years, or by a fine of at least $3,000, or both.

For the purpose of Section 24L, serious bodily injury is defined as bodily injury which creates a significant risk of death, or it involves loss or substantial impairment of a bodily function for a substantial length of time, or it means total disability.

What is the difference between § 24L (1) and § 24L (2)? The two sections are nearly identical; however, what sets the two offenses apart is the action of driving in a "reckless or negligent" manner. With Section 24L (1), the prosecutor must prove that the defendant was driving in a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger the safety and lives of the public. Whereas with Section 24L (2) it is not necessary to prove that the driver was operating in a reckless or negligent manner. If you have been charged with operating under the influence that induced injury on another individual, you may need the legal help of a Quincy OUI lawyer.

Driver's License Revocation

Anyone who is convicted under Section 24L, the registrar will revoke their driver's license or their right to drive for a period of two years after the date of the conviction. The driver will not have the right to operate unless their license is restored due to the fact that the person's trial is terminated in their favor, meaning that the person charged with OUI is found innocent of the charges against them.

What does it mean to be "under the influence" of alcohol? A person doesn't have to be slurring their words or physically unable to walk in order to be considered under the influence. The Commonwealth considers someone under the influence whenever they have consumed enough alcohol to the point that it has reduces his ability to drive a car safely.

While this includes someone who is drunk, it can include anyone whose mental clarity, self-control or reflexes has been reduced. The amount of alcohol necessary to reduces peoples' ability to drive varies from person to person due to sex, weight and tolerance. The goal of the prosecution is to prove that the defendant had the diminished capacity or ability to drive safely due to being under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

Get the Help You Need Today from Our Quincy Lawyers

If you or someone you care about is being charged with OUI with serious bodily injury, we urge you to contact a Quincy DUI lawyer right away.

Whether you were supposedly driving under the influence of prescription medication, alcohol, or narcotics, it's extremely important that we mount a compelling defense on your behalf. Even if you made a mistake, disproving negligence can make a huge impact in the final outcome of your case and the sooner we get started, the better.

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