Under Melanie’s Law and G.L. c. 90 § 24(1)(c)(2), if you are convicted of or plead guilty to DUI 2nd offense in Massachusetts, the Registry will automatically suspend your license for 2 years. You will be required to complete the 14 day in-patient DUIL Program in Tewksbury and at least 26 weeks of required out-patient aftercare. You cannot be considered for a hardship license from the Registry until you have served 1 year of the 2 year suspension. In some cases, you may be able to get a hardship license sooner by going before the Board of Appeal. However, the Board will not likely consider you for hardship relief until you have completed aftercare. Because of Melanie’s law, you will be ignition interlock required while on any hardship license and for at least 2 years after getting a full-time license. There are absolutely no exceptions to this requirement and you must install ignition interlock devices in any vehicle that you own, operate, or lease. The Registry enforces this requirement with “zero tolerance.”
In addition to the fines, fees, costs, and license suspension you will be placed on supervised probation, usually for 2 years. The conviction will remain on your record for life and it will dramatically increase the penalties of you are convicted of a 3rd or subsequent offense.
In many cases, a good DUI attorney can get you the same outcome if you are found guilty after exercising your constitutional right to a jury trial. To encourage a plea, prosecutors sometimes offer to reduce the charge to DUI 1st offense. This may seem attractive. However, even if you are convicted of a 1st offense, the Registry will still suspend your license for 2 years and you will still be ignition interlock required. Many DUI clients do not realize this and some DUI lawyers do not clearly explain this. Being a 2nd offender with a first offender DUI program may make it more difficult to get a hardship license. Attorney Simoneau can provide more information regarding this situation.