Massachusetts OUI Manslaughter

Manslaughter is the reckless or negligent killing of another human being. Although it is considered less culpable under the law than murder, as it is an unintentional act, it is still a very serious and devastating crime and one that has a lifetime impact on all involved. OUI manslaughter is the reckless or negligent killing of another while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is a crime that can result in severe penalties in Massachusetts. In the Commonwealth, since the enactment of Melanie’s Law, punishments for OUI manslaughter are more severe than ever. If you’ve been charged with OUI manslaughter, speak with a qualified attorney as soon as possible.

Melanie’s Law

In 2005 the Massachusetts legislature enacted a new law known as Melanie’s Law. The purpose of Melanie’s Law was to increase penalties for drunk driving after Melanie, a young girl, was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Among several other changes, Melanie’s Law created harsher penalties for those accused of the crime of manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle in the state.

Manslaughter While Operating a Motor Vehicle

In Massachusetts and under Melanie’s Law, if you are drunk driving and commit the crime of manslaughter, the punishment can include:

  • Imprisonment in the state prison of 5-20 years. This includes a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years.
  • Up to a $25,000 fine
  • Driver’s license suspension of 15 years to life

Homicide by Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence

Massachusetts law provides more than one way for the state to prosecute individuals accused of causing the death of another while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition to bringing charges under the statute for Manslaughter While Operating a Motor Vehicle, prosecutors can also charge you with Homicide by Motor Vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The penalties for this charge include:

  • 2½ years to 15 years in state prison
  • Up to $5,000 fine
  • Driver’s license loss for 15 years

Contact a Boston Area Criminal Defense Lawyer

Massachusetts OUI manslaughter is a devastating crime. It is a crime that results in the loss of life of an innocent victim and is incredibly difficult for all involved. If you’ve been accused of committing this crime, it is imperative you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Conviction can result in many years in prison, loss of freedom, and loss of your driving privileges. Contact the lawyers at OUI Attorneys to discuss your case and your options under the law.