Melanie’s Law: What You Need to Know

Driving under the influence (DUI), also referred to as operating under the influence (OUI) in Massachusetts, is harshly penalized. Indeed, in 2005, the state passed even more severe penalties for DUI/OUI offenses in our state when it passed Melanie’s Law. If you’ve been charged with drunk driving in our state, here’s what you should know about Melanie’s Law and the potential repercussions you face.

Melanie’s Law: The Basics

Melanie’s Law was passed with the purpose of enhancing administrative sanctions and penalties for committing an operating under the influence offense in our state. The law, which is now over a decade and a half old, created new requirements pertaining to:

  • Interlock ignition devices. One of the biggest changes to the law under Melanie’s Law was the requirement for any driver with a second or subsequent DUI/OUI offense on their record to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle in the event that they become eligible for license reinstatement. This includes receiving a hardship license. After the ignition interlock device is installed, it must remain in the vehicle for the entirety of the hardship license period, as well as for two years after a license has been reinstated. 
  • Drivers’ license suspensions. The other change to the law is in regard to drivers’ license suspensions for drivers both over and under 21 years of age. The license suspension period for refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test was also significantly increased in an attempt to encourage drivers to consent to testing if they are stopped. For a conviction of motor vehicle homicide, the license suspension duration was increased from 10 to 15 years. 
  • Other crimes while committing a DUI/OUI. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol has always been a crime; Melanie’s law made it a crime to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol with a child under 14 years of age within the vehicle. Now, drivers who commit this offense can be charged with two crimes simultaneously: a DUI and child endangerment while operating under the influence. The law did a similar thing for driving with a suspended license while under the influence of alcohol. Now, a driver who does this can be charged with both an OUI and committing an OUI with a suspended license, which means that they can face additional penalties if convicted. 

Get Help if You’re Facing OUI/DUI Charges in Our State

In addition to a license suspension, the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, and large fines, an OUI/DUI conviction—especially in combination with other charges—could result in prison time. Being charged with an OUI/DUI can also severely harm your future personal and professional opportunities, could result in the revocation of any professional licenses you hold, and could be cause for termination at your current place of employment. 

Get Legal Help Today 

If you’ve been charged with operating under the influence, you need a Boston DUI attorney on your side. At The Law Offices of Paul R. Moraski, Attorney at Law, our lawyer can start working on your defense immediately. For your initial consultation, please call our law firm directly today at (978) 397-0011 or use the intake form on our message to tell us more about your case.