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What is an ignition interlock device?

Conviction of an operating under the influence offense in Massachusetts has serious consequences, such as the loss of a driver's license. In certain cases, however, there are provisions allowing an OUI and driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Melanie's Law requires multiple OUI offenders, those with at least two alcohol or controlled substance OUI convictions, to install an IID in their vehicles for a specified time. Drivers with a conditional hardship license or who are eligible for license reinstatement after completing suspension license or revocation periods must install this device in their vehicles.

AN IID is a handheld device, the size of a cell phone, that monitors the driver's breath-alcohol. The motorist must pass an IID breath-alcohol test before they can start their vehicle. There are also re-tests during the operation of the vehicle.

A blood alcohol concentration exceeding .02 percent prevents the vehicle from starting. The BAC must decrease before the IID will allow the vehicle to start. A second failed test will place the vehicle into a lockout and require servicing from the vendor within 48 hours before it will allow the vehicle to start.

A lockout will also occur if there are to failed start-up tests within one to 30 days, one failed rolling retest with a BAC above .02, one missed service visit and two missed rolling retests within one to 30 days.

The minimum IID restriction is two years. An IID issued for a conditional hardship license must remain in the vehicle for the length of the license suspension or revocation plus two years after the reinstatement of full operating privileges. Motorists must apply to the Commonwealth for removal of the IID and the lifting of the license restriction.

An RMV hearings officer must approve a conditional hardship license or reinstatement before an IID may be installed. Affidavits must be submitted.

Drivers should schedule the installation of the device with a vendor, return to the vendor every 25-30 days for scheduled maintenance and data uploads and pay all the required leasing and maintenance fees and a monthly $30.00 program administration fee. Drivers must comply with all rules governing the use of the IID and cannot tamper with it or circumvent the use of the device.

A motorist accused of an OUI should seek legal representation. An attorney can help seek an appropriate resolution of charges.

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