Melanie’s Law refers to the amendments to the Massachusetts OUI laws that went into effect on October 28, 2005. Melanie’s law increased license suspension for a Massachusetts second and subsequent offense OUI convictions, increased the license loss for refusing a breathalyzer test, and created new criminal penalties, including an OUI child endangerment statute that imposed an enhanced penalty for anyone convicted of OUI with a passenger under 14 years of age in the vehicle. The new child endangerment statute imposes a one year loss of license upon conviction and carries the potential for a jail sentence.
The Melanie’s law also imposes the requirement of installation of the ignition interlock device on all offenders convicted of a second offense or greater OUI prior to reinstatement of driving privileges, additionally the law, created a motor vehicle forfeiture that allows the Commonwealth to seize the vehicle of anyone convicted of a Fourth offense OUI or greater. Finally, Melanie’s law increased the license suspension for those convicted of motor vehicle homicide from ten years to fifteen years.
Melanie’s law was named after Melanie Powell, 13 years old of Marshfield, Massachusetts who was killed by a repeat drunk driver in 2003.