by Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
A question was asked of me recently regarding people transporting alcohol in a vehicle if they are under the age of twenty-one. Is a person allowed to drive a friend (who is over 21) to the store to purchase alcohol? The assumption is the under age driver was not drinking and has no connection to the alcohol. He or she is simply providing transportation. Is there any violation of the law?
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 138 Section 34C is the section commonly known as minor transporting or carrying alcoholic beverages. No one under age twenty-one may carry or transport (in a vehicle) alcohol or alcoholic beverages, unless they authorized by law. The main exemption contained under section 34C applies in this case. The driver must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Since the friend riding with them does not qualify as either of these, the driver can be subject to a violation under this section.
This offense is arrestable and penalties call for a fine ranging from fifty dollars to one hundred and fifty dollars depending on the offense. A conviction under this section does require the Registry to be notified and calls for a ninety day license suspension. This suspension applies whether or not the convicted person was driving a vehicle. Simply any unlawful possession will qualify for the penalty. This can have a serious impact on someone's life. The law is designed to limit the contact between minors and alcohol. People under twenty-one must pay strict attention to this in order to avoid problems.
On Sunday March 3rd, I had the pleasure of attending the 49th Annual Communion Breakfast at the Webster-Dudley Polish American Veterans Club. This event is sponsored by the club to honor and remember those who have served and continue to serve in our armed forces. Many area veterans’ organizations and the PAV Ladies Auxiliary were on hand to honor these brave men and women. I wish to thank the members of the club for fine program and meal. State Senator Richard Moore served as the master of ceremonies and many people were on hand for this event, including the Color Guard of the Naval ROTC from Oxford High School. This was a special day and is always a fitting remembrance and thank you to all our veterans.
I wish to thank Principal Dono and reading specialist Ms. Linda Hackenson at the Mason Road School for their invitation to participate in the annual recognition of Dr. Suess’ birthday held on Friday, March 1st. I had the pleasure of reading for Mrs. Brassard’s kindergarten grade class. It was another enjoyable occasion and I thank the staff of the Mason Road School for their continued promotion of positive programs for our Town’s youth. It was also the final Dr. Suess Day for Ms. Hackenson, who will be retiring at the end of the school year. She continues to do a great job with this and all the programs at the school. I thank her for all her hard work and wish her the best as she looks forward to a new chapter in her life.