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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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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