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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 168916 Find in a Library
Title: Double Jeopardy vs. DUI: Is a License Revocation for Driving Under the Influence Punishment or a Remedial Sanction?
Journal: New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement  Volume:23  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1997)  Pages:239-266
Author(s): M M Tartaro
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 28
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The Massachusetts DUI (driving under the influence) statute violates the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Abstract: Under Massachusetts law, an individual automatically loses his/her driver's license if he/she fails a breathalyzer test or refuses a chemical test. Most States have similar laws. In Massachusetts, as in most States, the laws pertaining to DUI allow an immediate revocation of one's driver's license for failing or refusing the breathalyzer test, which can then be contested at an administrative hearing. The defendant may also face subsequent criminal prosecution of the DUI charge. Critics argue that these laws violate double jeopardy principles. A criminal statute infringes upon double jeopardy standards unless three elements are present; both punishments must arise out of the same act or offense; there must be two separate proceedings with two separate punishments; and the statute or law in question must constitute a remedial action, not a punishment. The Massachusetts DUI statute violates the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment because the civil punishment that revokes the defendant's license and the DUI criminal prosecution arise out of the same offense. Second, a civil administrative hearing is a separate proceeding from a criminal proceeding. Finally, license revocation is a form of punishment, even though it may have a remedial basis. 196 footnotes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Alcohol consumption analysis; Driving Under the Influence (DUI); Massachusetts; Right against double jeopardy; State laws
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