Governor Charlie Baker seeks to clarify drunk driving law

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

BOSTON, Mass (WPRI) – Governor Charlie Baker has introduced legislation he says will clear up any confusion over a law that dictates when police are allowed to hold repeat drunk driving offenders without bail.

As of now, the law reads that a drunk driver defendant can be held without bail until trial if they have been “arrested and charged with…a third or subsequent conviction for a violation.”

It is this wording that has caused confusion, as being arrested and being convicted of a crime are vastly different. Under the current law, police are unsure if they can hold an offender when they commit the third offense or on their fourth offense after they have been officially convicted three times.

The Supreme Judicial Court interpreted the law to mean after the third conviction, or on the instance of the fourth offense.

Baker does not believe this should be the case. His legislation proposes to strike the word “conviction” from the law, clarifying the wording.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving has come out in support of Baker’s proposal.