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Melanie's Law

Melanie’s Law refers to the amendments to the Massachusetts OUI laws that went into effect on October 28, 2005. Melanie’s law increased the license suspension for a Massachusetts second OUI conviction and subsequent offense OUI convictions. Melanie’s law also imposes the requirement of installation of the ignition interlock device in all vehicles, owned by the offender, convicted of a second offense or greater OUI prior to reinstatement of driving privileges.

The offender must pay for the interlock to be installed and has to pay monthly fees in order to use the device. This is true for vehicles that you own outright, lease, and applies to company vehicles as well. While many states require that first time offenders that are convicted must get the IID installed, Massachusetts does not currently have this requirement.

Melanie Law


If you are required to have the ignition interlock device installed, each time you get in your vehicle to drive you will be required to blow into the device and submit a breath sample. Any reading greater than.02 will prevent the vehicle from starting. Failure to comply with any and all requirements related to the ignition interlock device can result in license revocation for a period of 10 years to life, case dependent.

What Is Melanie’s Law & How Does It Affect Me?

Melanie’s law was named after Melanie Powell, 13 years old of Marshfield, Massachusetts who was killed by a repeat drunk driver in 2003. The purpose of Melanie’s law was to give greater power to the prosecution in OUI cases and it allows the District Attorney to seek more stringent penalties.

The penalties for refusing a breath test in Massachusetts have gone up significantly due to the new law. It also created new criminal penalties, including an OUI child endangerment statute. This 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.

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. Anyone convicted of a third or subsequent offense OUI can have their registration plates cancelled by the RMV.

Melanie’s law also prohibits any sort of temporary license that, previously, could have been granted after a person was charged with OUI in Massachusetts. The law also requires that your vehicle be impounded at a tow lot for a minimum of 12 hours before you can retrieve it.

Melanie’s law has also made it a violation to knowingly allow an individual (family, friends, acquaintances) with a suspended license to operate a motor vehicle.

Finally, Melanie’s law increased the license suspension for those convicted of motor vehicle homicide from ten years to fifteen years. Melanie’s Law also created the crime of Manslaughter by Motor Vehicle. In summation, you could be charged with manslaughter by motor vehicle if you commit manslaughter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, if you are charged with OUI while you do not have an active license, you can now be charged with two crimes at once:

  1. OUI
  2. OUI while driving with a suspended license

The additional offense, inherently, increases the consequences by carrying a one-year mandatory jail sentence along with a one-year license loss.

Delsignore Law Attorneys Understand Melanie’s Law and can Prepare a Winning Defense For You

Attorneys at DelSignore Law have represented numerous clients charged with OUI offenses ranging from a first offense OUI through a fourth offense OUI. We understand the legal impact these charges have and the license consequences that the charges carry. Give us a call today at (781) 686-5924. We offer free consultations and are available to discuss Melanie’s Law in greater detail with you.

You can review some of the frequently asked questions we get from our clients along with our OUI case results on our website today.

Client Reviews
Michael was very professional and explained the process clearly and told us to be patient. After one year the charges got dismissed in the trial. Excellent knowledge of the court systems in the area of Boston. Would highly recommend him Ashwani
A careless decision on my part left me facing charges which would have severely hampered my ability to stay employed and support myself. But attorney DelSignore's skillful analysis and challenging of the evidence against me resulted in a conviction on a lesser charge. Now I'll be able to go on with my life, having learned a lesson I'll never forget. Thank you, Michael. Scott
Mike stuck with my case for 3.5 years and always kept me informed regarding the status. Ultimately, because of his due diligence, we ended up with an OUI not guilty verdict. This case could have gone many ways but his thorough review of the case and exceptional preparedness for trial ultimately drove a positive outcome. Thank you Mike! David
Michael DelSignore did an amazing job with my case! He was always available to answer any questions I had and helped walked me through the entire process. I could not have done it without them! I highly recommend choosing this law firm to deal with your legal needs, you will not be dissatisfied. Ashley
I cannot express the gratitude towards Michael for his amazing work and help. It was a very stressful event and they certainly put me at as much ease as possible. From start to finish it took 14 months and all the way through they were both very engaged with me. Today was worth the wait, Michael was great in court and I was rightfully found not guilty. I would recommend Michael over and over again. Claire