There a loophole in Massachusetts’ drunk driving law and officials with the state are trying to close it, according to the Boston Globe.
Recently, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that drivers who admit that there’s enough evidence for drunken driving conviction but aren’t technically convicted are not subject to certain increased punishments and penalties. Various state officials have recently proposed to amend the definition of a drunk driving conviction to include those who admit to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty. It’s important that convictions and sentencing for drunk drivers are strict. Studies illustrate that strict sentencing helps to reduce the risks of future convictions and help to reduce the risks of future drunk driving-related car accidents in Cape Cod and elsewhere.
“We must respond quickly to close this loophole and ensure that repeat drunk drivers are taken off the roads for significant periods of time,” said, Martha Coakley, State Attorney General.
Our Cape Cod accident lawyers understand that the state Legislature didn’t change its definition of what constitutes a drunk driving “conviction” back in 2005 when it passed Melanie’s Law. Melanie’s Law was enacted to help to keep repeat offenders off of our roadways, from future convictions and from causing drunk driving-related car accidents. Under the current definition, people who enter a guilty plea or a no contest plea are included. Unfortunately, it does not include those who “admit to sufficient facts.” Under this, drivers are allowed to admit that there is in fact enough evidence for a drunk driving conviction, but it also allows judges to dismiss the case and the charges after a short probationary period. Letting them off with such relaxed sentences increases the risks for a repeat offense or even for a future drunk driving car accident.
“We must respond quickly to close this loophole and ensure that repeat drunk drivers are taken off the roads for significant periods of time,” said Coakley.
As it is now, drivers who are convicted with a first-time offense can get an 18-month suspension of their driver’s license among other penalties. The length of the suspension increases with each conviction with a permanent revocation possible at a third drunk driving conviction.
The loophole in our state’s law has let a lot of drivers who fall under these circumstances back on our roadways. Officials believe that nearly 35,000 cases across the state were continued without a finding and the defendants were let back on our roadways in no time at all.
State officials are working to close this loophole with the new proposal. Helping to keep strict penalties on convicted drunk drivers helps to keep those from becoming repeat offenders and helps to keep our roadways safe.
Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers, LLC is here to offer help to accident victims and the family of victims who have been the involved in a drunk driving car accident in Cape Cod, Boston and elsewhere in the state. If you or a friend has been involved in an alcohol-related accident, call (617) 777-7777 to schedule a free appointment to discuss your case.
More Blog Entries:
Alleged Drunk Driver in Stoneham Wrecks Police Cruiser, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, April 12, 2012
Obama’s Uncle with License after Recent Drunk Driving Arrest in Massachusetts, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog, April 9, 2012