Massachusetts DUI Lawyer Comments on Proposed Tougher Drunk Driving Laws

Note: This press release was written based on an early draft of the law. The increased license suspensions for 1st and 2nd offense breath test refusals are not part of the law as it was passed. Please see my Melanie’s Law summary for details, and my Massachusetts OUI Laws page for the current state of drunk driving law in MA.

– Attorney Russell Matson

Brockton MA –  September 25, 2005 – 

Massachusetts lawmakers are proposing a host of new changes to toughen the state’s drunk driving laws. “Melanie’s Law” will increase the penalty for refusing to take a breath test from 180 days to 1 year for a 1st offense, and a lifetime suspension for refusing a breath test on a 2nd or subsequent offense. There is also a proposed license suspension of 1 year for refusing to take roadside field sobriety tests, as well as an increase in the penalty for driving on a suspended license after an OUI from a 60 day to 90 day mandatory jail sentence.

Commenting on the proposed changes, Attorney Russell Matson, a noted Massachusetts DUI Lawyer said “No one is against keeping dangerous drunk drivers off the road, but these laws will do virtually nothing to accomplish that goal, and will only serve to ensnare and penalize more innocent citizens of the Commonwealth.”

According to Attorney Russell Matson, “A breathalyzer or breath test device has always been scientifically suspect for accurately measuring blood alcohol content. They are calibrated to detect values that vary widely among different people, so they are inherently inaccurate. ” He added, “Additionally, there are countless other ways a breathalyzer can indicate a false positive, from taking mouthwash, breath mints, or eating certain breads, to a variety of common medical and stomach conditions that will trick the machine into indicating a high blood alcohol content where none may exist, or otherwise inflate a low, legal number.”

On the subject of the proposed license suspension for refusing a field sobriety tests, Attorney Matson said “These so-called tests often have very little correlation with intoxication. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administrations own studies, as many as one third of all people cannot pass these tests under any circumstances! This is particularly true for anyone who may be overweight, over 65, have chronic back or leg problems, or other physical conditions.” He added, “For those reasons, it is absurd to penalize anyone for refusing to participate in these tests.”

For more information about OUI laws in Massachusetts, License Suspension Rules, Registry of Motor Vehicle Hearings, or additional comments on Melanie’s Law, contact Russell Matson at (781)380-7730, or refer to his web site,


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