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Drunken Drivers Face Tough Law in Massachusetts

December 19, 1986|Associated Press

BOSTON — Gov. Michael S. Dukakis on Thursday signed one of the nation's toughest drunken driving laws, which includes a provision allowing the licenses of some motorists to be suspended without trial.

"This law will help ensure that families stay intact, and it will ensure that we move swiftly against drivers who have tragically shattered the lives of so many men, women and children in this commonwealth," Dukakis said.

The law, effective immediately, means drunken drivers, especially repeat offenders, will be hit with much harsher penalties and will find it harder to avoid punishment.

It allows a judge to suspend a driver's license without a trial if the motorist registers .10% blood alcohol content on a Breathalyzer machine.

Similar laws are in effect in 41 other states.

Legislative critics argued that the law threatens the due process rights of suspects and would not withstand a constitutional challenge.

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