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Lawmaker proposes ignition interlock devices for first-time OUI

A Massachusetts lawmaker has proposed expanding the state's ignition interlock device program to include those convicted of a first OUI offense to have the devices installed in their vehicles.

Since 2005, those convicted of two or more OUI offenses have been required to have their vehicles outfitted with devices that require them to use a breath test before they can hit the road. The devices can also require them to pull over while driving for periodic check-ups. The devices must stay in place for at least two years. This, of course, comes after the driver has already completed the process of getting their driving privileges back after serving any jail time, paying any fines and completing any other obligations.

The driver must pay for the device and is responsible for installation, maintenance and proper use. At the end of the mandated period, a person with an interlock device must apply to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles before it can be removed.

If the proposal by Cape Cod state Rep. Tim Whelan becomes law, those convicted of a first-offense OUI will have to join the interlock device program, greatly increasing the expense and consequences of a conviction. Whelan and safety advocates say the new requirements would lead to greater safety by keeping dangerous drivers off the road.

Everyone wants safer streets, but it's important to remember that people accused of OUI must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. With the penalties and consequences seemingly getting tougher all the time, it's more important than ever that the accused seek out the best defense attorney they can find.

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