October 18, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Changes to Massachusetts DUI/OUI Penalty Laws
On July 14, 2012, Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Duval signed a bill increasing the potential penalties for some drivers convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. Massachusetts drivers should be aware of the change to the law and the potential penalties they face if convicted of DUI/OUI charges.
In 2005, Massachusetts lawmakers passed "Melanie's Law," which increased the driver's license revocation period following a second DUI/OUI conviction to up to three years. In May 2012, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court considered a case dealing with the issue of what counted as a DUI/OUI conviction under the law sufficient to trigger the possible three-year license revocation period.
The court held that those who admitted facts sufficient to support a conviction for DUI/OUI charges but had their cases continued without a judge finding them guilty did not have a prior DUI/OUI conviction for the purposes of Melanie's Law.
Changes to the Law
Lawmakers were critical of the court's decision, calling it a "loophole" in the law. Within days of the court's decision, members of the Massachusetts House and Senate filed bills to change the law so that cases where defendants admitted facts that would support a conviction would count as prior convictions and trigger the enhanced license revocation period called for under Melanie's Law, even if a judge never formally convicted them.
Massachusetts DUI/OUI Penalties
The penalties for a DUI/OUI conviction in Massachusetts can be severe. For a first DUI/OUI conviction, a driver faces:
-Up to two-and-a-half years in jail
-A fine of $500 to $5,000
-A one-year driver's license revocation, with the possibility of applying for a work or educational hardship permit after three months and a general hardship permit after six months
For a second DUI/OUI conviction the penalties increase to:
-A jail sentence from 30 days up to 30 months
-A fine of $600 to $10,000
-A two-year license revocation, which increases to three years for breath-test refusal
Talk to a Lawyer
Massachusetts authorities take drinking and driving offenses very seriously, as the haste to amend the law in light of the court's decision demonstrates. Those who are facing DUI/OUI charges need skilled attorneys advocating for their rights. If you have questions about Massachusetts DUI/OUI laws, talk to an experienced DUI/OUI defense lawyer.
Article provided by Law Office of Susan M. Costa, PC
Visit us at http://www.bostonmacriminaldefenselawyer.com---
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