Melanie’s Law was enacted to increase drunk driving penalties in Massachusetts. One provision of the law which went into effect on January 1, 2006, requires anyone with 2 or more DUI convictions on their records who is reinstating after January 1, 2006, or having their hardship hours removed, to use an ignition interlock device for 2 years. Use of the ignition interlock device for repeat DUI offenders on hardship licenses is mandatory. Also, out of state DUI convictions count just as Massachusetts OUI convictions, for determining whether the IID is required.
In the case of Gordon v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that the IID requirement was constitutional and the law did not violate the ex post facto clause of the Constitution.
In the case of Commonwealth v. Sean Pettit, the Appeals Court ruled that an ignition interlock required driver whose license was revoked could not be convicted of driving without an ignition interlock device and operating after revocation. The court ruled that the ignition interlock device restriction only applies to active licenses and a Massachusetts driver’s license cannot be restricted and revoked at the same time.
Melanie’s Law was implemented pursuant to Chapter 122 of the Acts of 2005. Various aspects of this law have been appealed and it has generally withstood appeals. I have successfully challenged Chemical Test Refusal (CTR) suspensions which were imposed pursuant to this law and I have been successful at the Board of Appeal, in Superior Court, and at the Supreme Judicial Court, in the case of Souza v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles. This case led to the reduction of thousands of license suspensions on legal grounds.