MBA's OUI seminar offers insight into changes under Melanie's Law

Issue February 2006

After the success of the Jan. 10 seminar on the state's new OUI law, the MBA's CLE Department plans to hold more OUI seminars in Springfield and elsewhere in the spring.

Ninety people attended the Jan. 10 program on Massachusetts' new OUI law, which was held at the MBA's Boston offices. Attendees received the most up-to-date information on Melanie's Law and learned about the many nuances and technicalities included in this new law, such as the dramatic changes in the sentencing of OUI cases and the costs of ignition interlock devices.

"The New OUI Law" seminar featured a panel of OUI attorneys, including Stephen L. Jones and Randy S. Chapman; Andrew M. Padellaro, counsel from the RMV; past MBA President Edward P. Ryan Jr.; and William Meade, counsel for the District Attorney's Association, who helped write the law.

James S. Dilday, of Grayer & Dilday, Boston, said, "Now, after going to this seminar, you know that you really have to try every OUI case because you don't want to get any convictions on an individual's record, if possible." He was also astonished to learn about the law's forfeiture provisions and the high costs of the mandated interlock ignition devices.

Michael Y. Edmonds, a sole practitioner in Northborough, said his reaction as he left the seminar was, "This really is a draconian law." He learned that attorneys will now "have to be very, very careful as to how to advise their clients on the repercussions of their acts. Someone who has had an OUI in two different states would be classified as a third-time Massachusetts offender if they get an OUI in Massachusetts. That really changes things. It's going to increase your due diligence."

Materials submitted by the faculty outlining the new law are available at the MBA's bookstore. The CLE Department is planning additional seminars on this topic and will announce times and locations as soon as they are confirmed.