A Massachusetts lawmaker recently proposed legislation that could potentially increase the penalties associated with some DUI cases. This proposal is part of a significant spending package, and if passed, it could require the installation of interlock devices for some first-time DUI offenders. Right now, only repeat drunk driving offenders have to install these devices in their vehicles.
The lawmaker claims that this move would save lives and make the roads safer. Ignition interlock devices are installed in a vehicle, and the driver must breathe into it before driving. The device measures blood alcohol content, and the vehicle will not operate if the device detects any level of alcohol in the person’s system. The intent of these devices is to discourage repeat intoxicated driving.
If this proposal passes, it would require first-time offenders with a BAC of .15% or higher to install the device in their vehicle. Massachusetts is currently the only state that does not require ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI convictions. The driver has to pay for the installation of the device along with any other fees associated with its maintenance. The governor is expected to support this proposal as he has previously proposed harsher penalties for drunk driving.
Those facing charges of drunk driving in Massachusetts would be wise to work with an experienced defense attorney from the moment of their arrest. Even first-time offenders will benefit from guidance regarding how to confront the charges against them. With help, it may be possible to challenge the prosecution’s case and potentially mitigate any penalties one is facing.