Tougher Mass. OUI & other Motor Vehicle Laws Proposed

The Massachusetts Joint Committee on the Judiciary will be conducting a public hearing on Tuesday at the Statehouse regarding numerous bills related to OUI and driver’s licensing. The following is a summary of the bills to be debated.

House Bill 1366 would subject the owner or custodian of a motor vehicle to a fine of up to $1,000.00 if the vehicle left the scene of a property damage or personal injury accident.

House Bill 1404 increases the penalties for operating a snow mobile or recreational vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

House Bill 1405 increases the fines and penalties for drivers who violate the right of way of other drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, and motorcyclists, with the violation result in death or serious bodily injury.

House Bill 1407 expands breathalyzer testing by imposing an enhanced penalty for a breathalyzer refusal in OUI cases involving serious injury or death.

House Bill 1426 would prevent junior operator’s license holders from being treated as juveniles if they commit a felony related to driving and require the junior operator to be tried as an adult.

House Bill 1449 requires the towing and impoundment for 12 hours of vehicles of those arrested for OUI and imposes civil and criminal liability for facilitating the arrestee’s operation of a motor vehicle while he or she is still under the influence.

House Bill 1528 creates a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a 15 year license suspension for the manslaughter by motor vehicle.

House Bill 1556 increases the license suspension penalties for leaving the scene of an accident

House Bill 1590 contains various penalty enhancements to Massachusetts DUI, Operating After Suspension, and other related laws.

House Bill 1675 increases the license suspension penalty for vehicular homicide from 15 to 20 years.

House Bill 3630 increases the penalties for OUI and would remove the ability to attempt to vacate a breathalyzer refusal suspension after being found not guilty of DWI.

House Bill 3632 also eliminates the ability to appeal a breathalyzer refusal suspension after a not guilty finding. It also requires mandatory breathalyzer or blood testing after fatal accidents.

House Bill 1570 would give police the right to arrest, without a warrant, for reckless or negligent operation of a motor vehicle or vehicular homicide by reason of negligent or reckless operation. 

Senate Bill 1573 increases the jail time, but not the 15 year license suspension period, for vehicular homicide.

Senate Bill 1586 punishes possession of marijuana in a vehicle by a $1,000.00 fine and 90 day license suspension.

Senate Bill 1692 changes the crime of driving outside of hours on a hardship license from unlicensed operation to the more serious crime of driving on a suspended license.

Senate Bill 1708 increases penalties for operating under the influence and removes the ability to try to get a chemical test refusal suspension vacated by the court if the OUI defendant is found not guilty.

Senate Bill 1734 requires the state to offer the state courts against road rage program (SCARR) in the counties in the western part of the state at least once every 90 days.

Senate Bill 1742 would increase the territorial jurisdiction of police officers, in certain circumstances, to stop motor vehicles.

Senate Bill 1782 would create the new crime of Aggravated Drunk Driving. This new offense would apply in Massachusetts OUI cases with breathalyzer results of .20 and above.

Senate Bill 1808 would provide progressive penalties for the crime of motor vehicle homicide.

Senate Bill 1809 would require anyone convicted of second offense DUI to display a placard or bumper sticker on his or her vehicle which provides a hotline telephone number to call if the vehicle is being driven erratically.

Senate Bill 1819 increases the penalties for DUI and requires a minimum mandatory 10 day jail sentence.

Senate Bill 1834 enhances the penalties for driving without a license or registration.