Drinking impairs your ability to act quickly and usually, rationally. Driving while under the influence of alcohol can impair judgment and reasoning. Driving under the influence (DUI) is the act of driving a motor vehicle with blood levels of alcohol in excess of a legal limit. DUI’s can also be referred as operating under the influence (OUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI.) This is measured by blood alcohol content (BAC). Violator of DUI’s in different states and abroad face similar, serious repercussions. DUI’s are taken seriously to keep communities safe since every single injury and death caused by drunk driving is preventable. Serving regulations also differ between states and abroad. Near or far, drunk driving can quickly change your life and others. In the state of Massachusetts it is a criminal offense and there are many penalties for DUI. First offenders can receive jail time not more than 2 ½ years, a fine between $500-$5000 and driver’s license suspension for 1 year. A work or education hardship license can be considered in 90 days and a general hardship license can be considered in 6 months. First offenders with an alternative disposition can enter probation and are assigned to a Massachusetts First Offender 24D Alcohol Education Program. It cost $600 to take and it allows qualified first and second time offenders to apply for a hardship license upon confirmation of enrollment. Second time offenders face 30 days of mandatory jail time, a fine of $600-$10,000 and a revoked driver’s license for 2 years. Second time offenders can also receive an alternative disposition but an ignition interlock device is required for 2 years. In order to protect the driver and the public, “Melanie’s Law” was signed into law on October 28, 2005 to enhance penalties against repetitive offenders. Ignition interlock’s were mandated on vehicles offenders operated starting January 1, 2006 for those who are eligible for hardship licenses. Even after the license has been reinstated, the device still needs to be used for an additional 2 years. On a 3rd offense, Melanie’s Law allows the Registry to cancel the offender’s registration plates for the duration of the suspension period. On a 4th or subsequent alcohol-related driving offense, a District Attorney may seek forfeiture of the offender’s vehicle. On a fifth offense, offenders will spend a minimum of 2 years in jail and up to 5 years in a state prison, a fine of $2000 to $5000, license is revoked for life and there is no possibility of a hardship license. Melanie’s law also increased the length of license suspension from 10 years to a minimum of 15 years if the offender is convicted of Motor Vehicle Homicide. (massDOT, 2012) Offenders should learn their lesson by the first offense, as penalties increase greatly, for more violations. My friend Tim received a DUI while driving 3 miles home from a local bar. He was swerving his car, which caused a police officer to pull him over. That day greatly affected his life. He knew he shouldn’t have drove, but he figured it was only going to take him five minutes to get home. Tim always talks about his regret of thinking he could drive, even if it was not far and that he was grateful no one was hurt. His license was revoked for a year, with no possibility of a hardship license and he relied on friends to drive him to and from work, and even took a semester off school, since he was unable to get there.
Massachusetts law requires for a breath or blood test if arrested for DWI and if the driver consents, the test must be taken as soon as possible from when the driver is last driving. The legal BAC for a minor is .02%, .08% for 21 and older and .04% for a commercial driver. With implied consent, if the driver refuses, the police officer tells the driver that their license will be suspended for at least 180 days and up to a life-time loss. The car will also be impounded and the driver is responsible to pay for the towing service and impounding...
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