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What is Melanie's Law?


After a young 13-year-old girl named Melanie was killed by a drunk driver in Massachusetts back in 2003, the state enacted Melanie's Law in 2005. This was a way for prosecutors to seek much harsher penalties for those accused of drunk driving. It not only allows for the prosecution to pull up prior records, letting the them reveal previous OUI convictions, it also created new OUI/DUI laws. The reason for this is because the individual who hit the young girl had numerous previous convictions. This was part of an effort to enact strict penalties so as to keep people from taking to the road while under the influence of alcohol.

The new laws that were established under Melanie's Law include the following:

  • Making it illegal to loan someone a motor vehicle, when they know that the person is inebriated
  • Driving a child under 14 years of age while drunk has specific penalties
  • New statutes regarding manslaughter because of a drunk driver
  • Much harsher penalties for those convicted of DUI manslaughter, increasing the minimum prison time to 5 years

Due to Melanie's Law, the Ignition Interlock Device is now installed into driver's cars if they have had multiple OUI convictions. This device requires that they blow into a breathlyzer machine before they are able to start their car. Any amount of BAC content level higher than .02 percent will prevent the car from turning on. The person must pay for the installation of the device and for the upkeep, which can be quite pricey. In addition, if anyone allows someone to drive their car who is supposed to only drive under interlock license restrictions, they could be faced with thousands in fines and years in jail. The state of Massachusetts treats these cases with extreme severity.

If you or your loved one is being charged with a multiple OUI/DUI, the protection of your rights involves even more than just keeping you out of jail. Having a Quincy OUI lawyer by your side to prepare a strong case defense could help preserve your ability to drive freely and not have to be dependent upon others. At Flanagan & Associates, we know that having something like this installed in your vehicle could not only keep you from enjoying life, but even just getting to and from work. Often times an ignition interlock device may randomly require a breath check or it can misread your breath sample.

Do not let these harsh penalties become a part of your everyday life. Receive the knowledgeable and compassionate representation you deserve from Attorney Dave Flanagan today. We are available 24/7 to all of our clients!

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