What You Need to Know About Drinking and Driving on a Motorcycle in Boston

Motorcycling is a popular pastime in New England, especially during springtime and mild summers. In the City of Boston, you will see many motorcyclists riding to work, the grocery store and going on joyrides. Unfortunately, not all of Boston’s motorcyclists are prudent or responsible. Some make the grave error of drinking and driving. In 2017, 120 people died in traffic accidents in Massachusetts involving alcohol-impaired drivers. There were 51 motorcyclist deaths in MA the same year. Learn your rights as someone injured by an intoxicated motorcyclist in Boston.

What Is the Law on Drinking and Driving in Massachusetts?

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, authorities call drunk driving operating under the influence (OUI). It is against the law in Massachusetts to operate any motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level above 0.07%. An operator is legally intoxicated with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. However, an operator could receive an under the influence charge even with a lesser BAC if his or her ability to control the vehicle appears diminished by drugs or alcohol. The penalties for drinking and driving in Massachusetts include 60 days to 5 years in prison, a fine of $500 to $15,000 and/or 1 to 8 years of license revocation. 

Why Is Drinking and Driving on a Motorcycle So Dangerous?

It is dangerous to operate any type of motor vehicle after drinking alcohol. Alcohol can inhibit the senses, impair judgment and make it more difficult to control a motor vehicle. It is just as dangerous – if not more so – to operate a motorcycle after drinking than a traditional passenger car. An intoxicated motorcyclist may not have the soundness of mind or body necessary to safely operate a motorcycle. Controlling and steering a motorcycle takes more physical strength, balance and coordination than operating a regular car. An impaired motorcyclist may not be in control of his or her motor skills enough to control the vehicle.

Crashing a motorcycle can cause life-changing injuries to the operator, such as broken bones and traumatic brain damage. Drinking and driving on a motorcycle does not only compromise the motorcyclist’s safety, however. A drunk motorcyclist could make poor decisions that impact the safety of others on the roadway, including bicyclists and pedestrians in Boston. A motorcyclist under the influence could crash into someone else and cause significant property damages and injuries. If a drunk or drugged motorcyclist injures you in Boston, you have the right to hold him or her responsible for your losses.

Criminal vs. Civil Charges for Drinking and Driving in Boston

If someone crashed into you while drinking and driving, that person may face double charges: criminal charges for breaking the state’s OUI law as well as civil charges to make you whole again. It will be the city prosecutor’s job to press criminal charges for operating a motorcycle under the influence. As an injured victim, however, it will be your responsibility to bring civil charges. In Massachusetts, you must do so within three years of your accident to have a valid claim under the statute of limitations.

A civil claim is entirely different from a criminal case. Where a criminal OUI case seeks to convict the motorcyclists of a crime and sentence him or her with fines or jail time, a civil case seeks to reimburse injured accident victims for their losses. Although you could also receive restitution from a criminal case against a drunken motorcyclist, a civil case will generally result in higher compensation for your injuries and damages from the at-fault party.

What Compensation Can You Receive for an OUI Accident Claim?

Holding a motorcyclist responsible for causing your accident in Boston could result in payment for your past and future damages. A motorcyclist guilty of OUI and causing your crash may owe you compensation for your medical bills, property damages, attorney’s fees, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. The value of your case will vary based on its facts. Discuss your recent traffic accident with a motorcycle injury lawyer in Boston for more information.

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