Legislature Scrambles to Close Melanie’s Law Loophole

undefinedMassachusetts DUI defense lawyer James M. Lynch reviews the Massachusetts legislature’s recent changes to Melanie’s Law.

As predicted here on May 18, 2012, the Massachusetts Legislature is moving quickly to close the loophole identified in 2005 omnibus statute known as “Melanie’s Law” by the state Supreme Judicial Court’s recent, which narrowed the definition of repeat offenders currently applied by the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in breathalyzer test refusals. On May 17, 2012, the SJC ruled that offenders who, in prior cases, had admitted sufficient facts, or had been received alcohol program assignment, or a continuance without a finding (CWOF) could not be considered as having been “previously convicted” of drunk driving as that term is applied by the RMV in determining offender status because the statute didn’t include such offenders.

Now the Legislature is moving quickly to close the Melanie’s Law loophole by including such offenders in its definition of “convicted”. On Wednesday, May 23, 2011, the State Senate voted unanimously to adopt an amendment designed to close the suspension loophole to expand the suspension statute to include prior admissions, CWOF’s and alcohol program participants as de facto prior convictions.

Look for the House of Representatives to quickly follow suit.

About the Author: James M. Lynch is a Massachusetts lawyer for Lynch & Owens, located in Hingham, Massachusetts, whose practice areas include DUI defense, divorce and personal injury.

Schedule a free consultation with James M. Lynch today at (781) 253-2049 or send him an email

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