Prior to 2005, Masachusetts was considered one of the states with the most lax drunk driving laws, with a sizeable number of repeat drunk driving offenders. After the tragic death of Melanie Powell, a 13 year old girl struck and killed by a repeat drunk driver while she was walking to the beach, legislators rallied for greater OUI penalties for repeat offenders in the state.
According to drunk driving defense lawyer Attorney John B. Seed, the resulting regulations, known as “Melanie’s Law,” stipulate that:
- The minimum mandatory sentence for manslaughter in drunk driving cases is five years.
- Repeat offenders are required to have ignition interlocking devices installed in any vehicle they drive.
- Increased license suspension for refusal of the Breathalyzer.
This law also created some new new crimes: Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence With a Child 14 Years of Age or Younger In the Vehicle, which can be charged as a separate OUI offense. OUI while Operating after a Suspension for a Previous OUI (OAS for OUI)offense. This additional offense of OAS for OUI while operating under the influence carries a minimum mandatory 1 year jail sentence.
The penalties for both first-time and repeat offenders in the state of Massachusetts are rapidly increasing with the passage of new legislation. For individuals facing a potential OUI/DWI/DUI, it’s essential to have the best defense crafted on your behalf to avoid the implications of these new laws. As a criminal defense attorney in MA with an outstanding record in the courtroom, Attorney John B. Seed has the knowledge and experience necessary to fight your case. For a free one hour legal consultation and case review, visit Attorney John B. Seed online or call 508-817-3194.