Thomas A. Brant Articles Melanie’s Law in Massachusetts

Melanie’s Law in Massachusetts

By Thomas A. Brant  Aug. 1, 2011 4:30p

How it Affects OUI Cases

Melanie's law was enacted on October 28, 2005 with the express purpose of enhancing the penalties and administrative actions for those charged with drunk driving in Massachusetts. The law, named after a 13-year-old girl who was killed by a repeat OUI offender, helps prosecutors in punishing those with prior OUI convictions. The law creates a new offense of OUI while operating a vehicle after a suspension for a previous OUI. Under this new law, a driver can be charged with two crimes at the same time, the first being an OUI and the second being an OUI with a suspended license, punishable by an additional minimum one-year jail sentence, fines of $2,500 to $10,000, and a one-year license suspension.

Melanie's law also requires those convicted of a second or subsequent OUI who are allowed to drive under a hardship license to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle they use, including an employer's vehicle. This is done at the driver's expense. The ignition interlock device is required for the life of the hardship license and for 2 more years after his or her license has been reinstated.

The law also makes it a crime to allow or employ an unlicensed driver to operate a vehicle. Operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a child 14 years or younger in the vehicle is another new crime under this law. Anyone doing so can be charged with two crimes: OUI and child endangerment while under the influence. A new crime of manslaughter by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs was also added into the law, punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison, fines of up to $25,000, and a license suspension of 15 years to life.

Harsher Laws Make Legal Counsel Imperative

With harsher laws in play for those facing drunk driving charges, it is more important than ever to retain the services of a skilled defense attorney when involved in an OUI / DUI case. If you are facing OUI charges in the greater Boston area, you need to act quickly by obtaining the legal counsel of a Boston criminal defense attorney at the law office of Thomas A. Brant.

Contact criminal defense attorney Thomas A. Brant today if you are facing drunk driving charges in the greater Boston area.

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