Melania's Law Explained

Many Massachusetts drivers are fundamentally confused by the penalties imposed by Melanie's Law, a fiercely drunk driving law designed to improve public safety.

On October 28, 2005, the Melania Drive Act was amended by Massachusetts law. This law significantly increased penalties and sanctions for drunken driving violations and fan refusal. Also, the law mandated an immediate suspension after refusing a chemical breath test and revoking 15 days of provisional permits previously issued to offenders who refused an inhaler. Since the passage of Melania's law, the number of people arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor (OUI) has steadily increased. According to data from the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Registry (RMV), in the year before the passing of Melanie's Law, 13,335 people were arrested and charged with OUI. Between October 28, 2005 and October 28, 2006, the first year after Melania's law came into force, the number of arrests increased to 14,068; in the second year, that number increased again to 15,591. According to the latest RMV statistics, in the third year since Melania's law came into force, there have been 16,199 people arrested and charged with OUI in Massachusetts.

One of the goals of Melania's law was to convince people to take an inhaler, by imposing harsh suspensions of fan refuse licenses. Suspensions of Breath Tools rejections range from 6 months to a lifetime. With these long suspensions, many think twice before rejecting the inhaler.

Another component of Melania's law requires the installation of a breath-locking device on repeat offender vehicles. Drivers who have 2 or more DUI charges in their records must only operate those vehicles fitted with locking devices for the duration of any difficulty and for two (2) years after full licenses have been returned.

Melanie's Law has created the following new crimes: Use or allow an unlicensed operator to operate a motor vehicle, allowing an individual with an ignition interlock limitation to operate a vehicle that is not equipped with the device, removing the device or lacking inspection of the device, maintained or monitored on at least two occasions, at least two attempting to start a vehicle with a blood alcohol level greater than .02, driving without an ignition interlock device when prescribed, touching the ignition interlock device, supplying a sample air to start another's vehicle, DUI while driving on a suspended license for drunk driving and a DUI with a child under 14 or younger in the car.

Melanie's law also increased the waiting time to apply for a felony license for another offense. Now, in most cases, you have to wait a year to get a second-offense license violation. It also increased the duration of the revocation of homicide licenses in cars from 10 to 15 years.

Given the complexity of Melania's law, fighting a qualified lawyer for you is crucial. You should hire an attorney who knows the laws on licensing drivers and drunk drivers in Massachusetts inside and out.