Ignition Interlock Devices

If you’ve been convicted of OUI, or operating under the influence, in Massachusetts, you may have been required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) into your vehicle. An IID is a machine that prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a preset limit, or .02% in the state. Before you start the engine, you will be required to blow into the device, much like the breathalyzer, and your BAC must be under the preset limit in order for your car to start.

When are Ignition Interlock Devices Necessary?

Two or More OUIs

After Melanie’s Law was passed in October 2005, penalties became more severe for anyone found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These penalties include the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for those convicted of a second OUI. An IID is required for anyone with two or more drunk driving offenses if:

  • They are eligible for a hardship license. In this case the device must be utilized throughout the hardship period.
  • They are eligible for license reinstatement. The device must be used for a period of two years following the reinstatement.

Additional Ignition Interlock Device Punishments

In addition to the requirement to install an IID after being convicted of a second offense OUI, Melanie’s Law provides for additional ignition interlock device-related crimes and punishments.

Driving a Vehicle Without an Installed Device When You Have an IID-Restricted License

If you drive a vehicle that is not equipped with an IID and you have an IID-restricted license, you face harsh penalties, including:

  • Up to 5 years imprisonment
  • Up to $15,000 in fines
  • License revocation

Breathing into the Device for an Individual that has an IID-Restricted License

It is illegal to breath into an IID for an individual that has an IID-restricted license. Penalties for doing so include:

  • Up to 2 ½ years jail time
  • Up to $5000 fine
  • License suspension

Tampering With/ Disabling an IID

Criminal penalties for tampering with an IID with the intent to disable it include:

  • Prison time up to 5 years
  • License suspension

Maintenance of the IID

As a driver with an IID-restricted license, you have certain responsibilities with regard to the device in addition to the obvious responsibility of refraining from drinking and driving and using the device as instructed by the Massachusetts RMV. You are also responsible for the installation and routine maintenance of the device, which includes associated costs.

Contact a Boston Area Lawyer

If you’ve been accused of a second or subsequent OUI offense or if you have questions about the requirement to obtain an ignition interlock device, contact an OUI Attorney. With valuable experience defending the rights of those accused of operating under the influence, an attorney can help you defend your driving privileges and future.