It’s a sad fact that laws are often changed based on tragedy. Take Massachusetts operating under the influence (OUI) laws for example – when a 13 year old girl was struck and killed by a repeat drunk driver while walking to a birthday party, the horrible event prompted the state to pass a new law. Melanie’s Law expanded the penalties for drunk drivers and required the state to create an ignition interlock program in 2006.
Because of Melanie’s Law, any offender who receives a license suspension and is eligible for a restricted license or hardship license, or an offender who has two or more OUI convictions in Massachusetts and is eligible to receive their license back after their one-year suspension, will be required to participate in the interlock program.
Taking part in the interlock program is just one of penalties Massachusetts hands out to first and subsequent offenders.
First time OUI offenders will receive the following penalties:
- You may have to spend up to 30 months in jail
- Pay fines up to $5,000 in addition to a $250 assessment fine and $250 DUI Victim Trust Fund Fine
- Loss of driver’s license for one year with the potential to apply for a restricted or hardship license after 3 months
- You may be required by the judge to take part in the interlock program or you may be asked to take part if you receive a hardship license
- You will be required to attend a court assigned treatment program
If you are a second OUI offender in Massachusetts, you’ll receive the following penalties:
- Minimum of 30 days up to 30 months in jail
- You’ll pay fines ranging from $600 up to $10,000
- You will lose your driver’s licence for a period of 2 years
- If you are eligible for a hardship licence after a one year suspension, you’ll be required to take part in the interlock program
It’s unfortunate it took a tragedy to improve OUI laws, but improved laws mean more lives are being saved every day in Massachusetts.