OUI/ DUI & Motor Vehicle Crimes
In Massachusetts, motor vehicle offenses can be a very complicated area of criminal law. Too often, people dismiss what they believe to be just a "traffic violation" when in fact they are facing real criminal charges with potentially life-altering consequences. If you have been charged with any criminal offense, you must treat it as such. If handled improperly, even the most "simple" motor vehicle violation could bring about a criminal record, life-altering conditions of probation, long driver's license loss periods, significant fines, fees, and increased motor vehicle insurance premiums, and in many cases, jail time. If you have been arrested or summonsed to appear in court, then you are facing these potential penalties. Contact our office immediately for a free initial consultation.
In 2005, the Massachusetts Legislature passed Melanie's Law. This is a collection of statutes that mandates new, highly punitive penalties associated with alcohol-related driving offenses, while also creating brand new criminal laws, many of which carry mandatory jail time.
New criminal laws established by Melanie's Law include:
Operating under the influence causing death; MGL c. 90 s. 24G
Operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury; MGL c. 90 s. 24L
Operating under the influence with a suspended license for OUI; MGL c. 90 s. 23
Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license for OUI; MGL c. 90 s. 23
Child endangerment by operating under the influence; MGL c. 90 s. 24V
Allowing a person without a license to operate a motor vehicle; MGL c. 90 s. 12
Allowing a person with the ignition interlock device restriction to operate a motor vehicle without the device; MGL c. 90 s. 12
Employing a person without a license to operate a motor vehicle; MGL c. 90 s. 12
In addition to all of these new statutes, Melanie's Law also established must more stringent penalties for repeat drunk driving offenders. These penalties now include very expensive statutory fines and fees that cannot be waived by a judge, which make OUI offenses among the most expensive charges in Massachusetts.
Melanie's Law also created a "lifetime look-back" for operating under the influence charges. In other words, if you were placed on probation for operating under the influence 30 years ago, you were probably told then that it "expired" after 10 years. That might have actually been true. However, it can now be used against you- if you are arrested today, you'd be charged as a repeat offender. It gets worse- if you were convicted of a second operating under the influence charge decades ago, then under Melanie's Law, the Massachusetts RMV can NOW, all of a sudden, require you to install the interlock ignition device in your car for at least two years, even though you have not had an incident this century! It hardly seems fair, or even legal, but so far the Courts have upheld these statutes.
In addition to the criminal penalties associated with motor vehicle motor vehicle offenses, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has its own set of collateral consequences. If you are charged with a motor vehicle offense, it is important to speak with an criminal attorney who is also an experienced RMV practitioner. At Urbelis Law, we represent clients every week in front of both hearings officers and the RMV Board of Appeals. We will carefully analyze your case, your background, and your driving history to determine not only how to best approach your criminal case, but also to provide vigorous representation when it comes to protecting your driver's license. If you believe that your license has been improperly suspended, or if you would like us to determine whether you qualify for a hardship license, contact our office. We will review your situation as part of your free initial consultation to determine how we can help.
If you are being investigated or are arrested for a motor vehicle offense, it is important that you NOT speak to law enforcement officials about your case. Very often, people think that the best approach is to be honest, forthcoming, and apologetic. In most aspects of life, that's probably true. When dealing with potential criminal charges, that's the absolute worst course of action. Many times, the police do not even have enough information to charge you with a crime until you've given them that information. The police may even tell you that they have enough incriminating information, even when they do not. You have a right to ask for a lawyer whenever you are questioned by law enforcement. Invoke that right immediately. Let us help you determine when it's time to provide information to law enforcement- that's what we're here for.
For more information on criminal motor vehicle offenses, visit our sister website:
If you have been charged with any criminal motor vehicle offense, or summonsed to appear at a clerk's hearing, contact our office:
- Allowing/ Employing a Person Without a Valid License to Operate a Motor Vehicle
- Child Endangerment while Operating Under the Influence
- Leaving the Scene (Hit and Run)
- Homicide by Motor Vehicle/ Homicide by OUI/ Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle
- Operating with a Suspended or Revoked License
- Operating with a Suspended License from OUI (OAS for OUI)
- Operating an Uninsured Motor Vehicle
- Operating a Motor Vehicle to Endanger (Negligent or Reckless Operation)
- Operating Under the Influence & Subsequent Offenses
- Operating Under the Influence causing Serious Bodily Injury
- Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle