Melanie's Law – Repeat DUI Offenders

Melanie’s Law Targets Repeat Drunk Drivers

Boston, MA – A new drunk driving law in Massachusetts will aid
prosecutors in punishing drunk drivers with repeated convictions. Under
the new law, prosecutors will use certified court records in order to
prove prior drunk driving incidents. The law is named “Melanie’s law”
after the 13-year-old Melanie Powell, who was killed in an accident
caused by a repeat drunk driver two years ago. With Melanie’s law, repeat
offenders must utilize an ignition interlock device, which connects a Breathalyzer to the
ignition of their car. In order to turn the car on, they must measure
their blood alcohol content.

New drunk driving crimes have been established under Melanies’ law:
loaning a car to someone who is clearly drunk; driving under the
influence with a child under the age of 14; and manslaughter caused by
drunk driving. Motor vehicle manslaughter now carries a mandatory
sentence of five years, doubled from two-and-a-half years.

Melanie Powell’s family is proud that the new law has gone into
affect. Powell’s grandfather, Ron Bersani, said, “We’ll never know how
many lives Melanie’s Law will save, but we have faith it will be many, so
today, we thank you, Melanie.”

The house and senate approved a weaker version of the bill last week,
which created some backlash from the governor and others. On Friday,
lawmakers voted to put the tougher punishments back into the

October 29, 2005

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