An Overview of the Massachusetts Melanie’s Law

Legislation known as “Melanie’s Law” was passed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2005. This Massachusetts statute is intended to make penalties for operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI) more severe. The enactment of this law helped to usher in new and enhanced periods of license suspension or revocation and further established the Commonwealth’s Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Program. Melanie’s Law is named for 13-year-old Melanie Powell, who was struck and killed by a driver who had multiple OUI convictions. Under this law, penalties for repeat offenders are stronger and prosecution is easier. For example, anyone who is found
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Holidays, New Years, Superbowl Cheer – Disorderly Conduct and Public Intoxication

Winter brings with it some of the calendar’s most-anticipated holidays. In colder parts of the world—of which Massachusetts is certainly one, as anyone who has lived through a nor’easter will tell you—people draw together inside to escape the falling snow and the quickly-falling, long winter nights. The winter holidays have something for everyone: the religious and cultural observances of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa; the universal excitement of New Year’s Eve; the shared experience of Super Bowl Sunday. For many people, with celebration there comes alcohol. And with alcohol there comes additional responsibility and potential criminal prosecution. Driving under the influence
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Cannabis DUI

Marijuana and derived cannabis products are now legal for private, at-home consumption in Massachusetts. With the use of THC products now legal and in the open, it becomes even more important to remember continuing legal restrictions on and best practices surrounding their consumption. One of the foremost issues at the intersection of law, good citizenship, and cannabis is that of driving under the influence of marijuana and marijuana-derived products. Most people are familiar with the laws surrounding DUI, or at least they think they understand these laws. Let’s take a moment to review the laws regarding alcohol and the operation
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Massachusetts RMV Scandal and License Suspension

Imagine this: one day you open your mail to discover your license has been suspended for a violation that occurred months, maybe even years, ago. How did this happen? And what can you do? A scandal has engulfed the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles this summer, one which promises not to end any time soon. While the scandal suggests a long-term investigation to turn over every rock, hundreds and hundreds of Massachusetts drivers have already been affected in the short-term by having their licenses suspected. Many more may also soon find their licenses suspended as the RMV races to repair
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Does it really matter if I skip jury duty?

Yes—yes it does. Skipping jury duty is an easy way to land yourself in completely unnecessary trouble. Massachusetts makes it rather difficult to miss or skip your service date. There are many chances to make right on your having skipped jury duty, but they are all time-consuming and potentially nerve-wracking. After missing jury service, you will receive a “Failure to Appear” postcard. By phone or by mail, you can respond to this. If you have a reasonable excuse, such as illness, be sure to have a note from your doctor. You will then reschedule your service. Ignoring this card (at
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Malicious Destruction of Property

The crime of Malicious Destruction of Property is the willful injury to or destruction of the personal property of another person. In Massachusetts, the willful and malicious destruction of property is considered a felony crime. It is distinguished from wanton destruction of property which is a misdemeanor offense. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 127, provides punishment for the crime of Malicious Destruction of Property by imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years, or state prison for up to 10 years. In order to prove the crime of Malicious Destruction of Property, the prosecutor is required
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Should I take the Breathalyzer test when pulled over and what if I refuse?

This particular question is not as easy to answer as it may seem.  If a driver refuses to take the Breathalyzer test, it is an automatic 6 month license suspension. Drivers under age 21 face a 3 year license suspension. Drivers with prior OUI offenses on their record face increased sanctions between 3 years and a lifetime loss depending on how many priors you have. There are no hardship licenses for  suspensions resulting from breath test refusals. If you take and fail the test, there is a 30 days license suspension. The suspension for a failed test is significantly less
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Thousands of criminal cases dismissed by Massachusetts court.

While thousands of criminal cases are being dismissed in Massachusetts, the ACLU and Committee for Public Counsel Services also are asking the court to throw out thousands of other cases potentially impacted by the rogue chemist. If your case isn’t among the ones being dismissed, please contact our law office to determine if your case should be dismissed. By The Associated Press A judge on Massachusetts’ highest court has ordered the dismissal of thousands of cases tainted by a former chemist who authorities say was high almost every day she worked at a state drug lab for eight years. The American Civil Liberties
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Supreme Court rules that cops can’t hold you for even a few extra minutes without good reason after routine traffic stops

The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that after police have completed a routine traffic stop, they cannot hold you for even a few extra minutes without the usual suspicion required to detain a person. In Rodriguez v. United States, a case brought by a Nebraska man who was pulled over for driving erratically on a state highway in 2012, the court majority said police lacked probable cause in a search that led to the man’s drug charge.
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