Massachusettes Ignition Interlock Devices & DUIs

DUI Lawyers in Boston, MA

As of 2012, all 50 states have laws permitting the imposition of ignition interlock devices as sentencing alternatives for DUI/OUI offenders. The ignition interlock device (IID) is a handheld machine that measures a person’s breath-alcohol level. The IID is roughly the size of a cellphone and is electronically attached to a vehicle’s ignition. Before the vehicle will start, the driver will have to take and pass a breath test of a BAC of less than .02 percent. The device will not allow the ignition to start if the BAC is above .02, which is usually the equivalent of one alcohol drink for most people.

An IID also requires the driver to re-test while operating the vehicle. If you fail an IID test two times within a service period, your vehicle will go into lockout and you will need to visit your vendor. If you are required to install an IID, you will be responsible for paying for the installation, required leasing and maintenance fees. You must also return to the vendor within 30 days to have maintenance and a data upload that will be transmitted to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Massachusetts Law & IID

Since the passage of Melanie’s Law in 2005, drunk drivers in the Commonwealth have faced increasing penalties for OUI and DUI offenses. There are four possible scenarios in which you will have to install and use an IID in Boston and throughout Massachusetts:

  1. If you have two or more OUI convictions and are eligible for license reinstatement, you must use an IID for two years after your license is reinstated. These two years are in addition to any time you may have used an IID with a hardship license.
  2. If you have two or more OUI convictions and are eligible for a hardship license, then you must use the IID for the length of the hardship license. After your license is reinstated, you must continue using the IID for an additional two years.
  3. If the court reinstates your license after a suspension of five years or more for a Chemical Test Refusal, then the RMV will reinstate your license and you must have an IID installed for no less than two years.
  4. If the court orders you to use the IID, for any reason.

Keep in mind that your IID will not be authorized for removal if you have had any IID violations or infractions during the previous six consecutive months. A violation can occur when your device goes into lockout two times. Your device can go into lockout when you fail a rolling re-test or when you tamper with the device, and this can result in a 10-year license revocation. Failing a second rolling re-test may result in a lifetime license revocation. You can also receive a violation for missing a monthly maintenance payment for your device.

Once your device goes into lockout, you will only have 48 hours to return your vehicle to the vendor so that the data can be uploaded and the device can be reset. If you fail to do this within 48 hours, your vehicle will not start and you will need to tow it to the vendor. Once you receive a violation, you will be required to meet with an RMV Hearings Officer who will make the final decision on whether or not to revoke your license.

The bottom line is, anyone who has two or more OUI convictions in Massachusetts must have an IID installed in their car as a condition of a hardship license or a driver’s license reinstatement. To learn more about how you can fight your OUI charges and avoid these penalties altogether, call our firm today.