Tougher Drunk Driving Laws
Recently the Massachusetts Legislature enacted new, tougher Drunk Driving laws. Known as "Melanie's Law" there are new penalties and new crimes along with longer license suspensions.
Previously, there had been a 10 year "Look-Back" provision whereby judges in Massachusetts were empowered to disregard (for sentencing purposes) prior Drunk Driving convictions a person might have amassed ten years prior to his or her current OUI arrest. For example, if a person was arrested in September of 2002 and had a previous OUI 11 years ago (or in other words in 1991) he or she could be treated like a first offender again in spite of that previous offense.
The "Look Back" concept is now history. Out-of-state convictions "count" and all previous OUI's MUST be "counted" by a sentencing judge. With the harsh penalties for subsequent OUI offenses already on the books and plans to make them even more harsh, Drunk Driving cases must be looked at much more seriously in terms of avoiding convictions which may "haunt" one for a lifetime.
Anyone arrested and charged with OUI would be wise to consult with an attorney at this time even if, for example, one feels that the situation is hopeless or indefensible.
New Restraining Order Case
Recently the Appeals Court of Massachusetts ruled that "actual" notice may not necessarily have to be proven in a Violation of Restraining Order case. Normally, one is served with an initial temporary (10 day order) Restraining Order which tells the Defendant that he/she should appear at a hearing should he/she wish to contest the issuance of a more permanent order. This new case says that if a person has notice of the hearing and simply fails to appear (or chooses not to) he or she can be found guilty of violating the order even if he or she hadn't been served with the second, longer restraining order which was issued after the second hearing which the Defendant did not appear on.
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