The Massachusetts SJC decided an important case for Massachusetts OUI Lawyers today. The SJC held in Commonwealth v. Morgan that the Valor Act permits a judge to dismiss a first or second offense OUI over the Commonwealth’s objection. The SJC held that the wording of the statute did not exclude dismissal as a remedy and that the legislature is presumed to know how a statute will impact existing laws.
The Valor Act was passed in 2012 in recognition of the service of military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Act permits someone who has been honorable discharged and has been in active duty to have a criminal charge of a misdemeanor, if the individual has no other record, dismissed under a diversionary program.
Once probation determines that an individual qualifies, the Court continues the arraignment for 14 days to allow the individual to receive a recommendation from the Veteran’s Administration that they meet the eligibility requirements for the pretrial diversion program. The case is then stayed for 90 days until the program is completed; after the completion of the program, the judge is authorized to dismiss the charge under the recent decision of the SJC today in Commonwealth v. Morgan.