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The 191st General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 24G: Homicide by motor vehicle; punishment

Section 24G. (a) Whoever, upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access, or upon any way or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, operates a motor vehicle with a percentage, by weight, of alcohol in their blood of.08 or greater, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, all as defined in section 1 of chapter 94C, or from smelling or inhaling the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors as defined in section 18 of chapter 270, and so operates a motor vehicle recklessly or negligently so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered, and by any such operation so described causes the death of another person, shall be guilty of homicide by a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating substance, and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 21/2 years nor more than 15 years and a fine of not more than $5,000, or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not less than 1 year nor more than 21/2 years and a fine of not more than $5,000. The sentence imposed upon such person shall not be reduced to less than 1 year, nor suspended, nor shall any person convicted under this subsection be eligible for probation, parole, or furlough or receive any deduction from a sentence until such person has served at least 1 year of such sentence; provided, however, that the commissioner of correction may, on the recommendation of the warden, superintendent or other person in charge of a correctional institution or the administrator of a county correctional institution grant to an offender committed under this subsection a temporary release in the custody of an officer of such institution for the following purposes only: (i) to attend the funeral of a relative; (ii) to visit a critically ill relative; (iii) to obtain emergency medical or psychiatric services unavailable at said institution; or (iv) to engage in employment pursuant to a work release program. Prosecutions commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file. Section 87 of chapter 276 shall not apply to any person charged with a violation of this subsection.

(b) Whoever, upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access or upon any way or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, operates a motor vehicle with a percentage, by weight, of alcohol in their blood of.08 or greater, or while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, or of marijuana, narcotic drugs, depressants or stimulant substances, all as defined in section 1 of chapter 94C, or from smelling or inhaling the fumes of any substance having the property of releasing toxic vapors as defined in section 18 of chapter 270, or whoever operates a motor vehicle negligently so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered and by any such operation causes the death of another person, shall be guilty of homicide by a motor vehicle and shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not less than 30 days nor more than 21/2 years, or by a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $3,000 dollars, or both.

(c) Whoever, upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right of access or upon any way or in any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, operates a motor vehicle recklessly so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered and by any such operation causes the death of another person, shall be guilty of reckless homicide by a motor vehicle and shall be punished by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than 21/2 years, or by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years, or by a fine of not more than $3,000 dollars, or by both such fine and imprisonment. For the purpose of this section, a person operates recklessly when that person consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered.

(d) When a motor vehicle is the instrument of the offense, the registrar shall revoke the license or right to operate of a person convicted of a violation of subsection (a), (b) or (c), or punished under section 13 of chapter 265, for a period of 15 years after the date of conviction for a first offense. The registrar shall revoke the license or right to operate of a person convicted for a subsequent violation of this section for the life of such person. No appeal, motion for a new trial or exceptions shall operate to stay the revocation of the license or of the right to operate; provided, however, that such license shall be restored or such right to operate shall be reinstated if the prosecution of such person ultimately terminates in favor of the defendant.