Operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI) is a common criminal offense and also one with high recidivism rates. Once someone gets arrested for their first OUI, they have a higher-than-average risk of getting arrested and charged again eventually. About one-third of all drunk driving arrests involve someone with a prior offense on their record.
The penalties for an OUI conviction go up after each subsequent arrest. The state, unlike many others, does not limit the lookback period for OUI convictions. Any lifetime conviction records for impaired driving will affect any future charges in Massachusetts, with each subsequent offense carrying harsher penalties.
Those escalating punishments serve as a deterrent against repeat offenses. The same could be said of court-ordered installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) for those who lose their licenses due to impaired driving. There are two different times when the Massachusetts courts can force someone to install an IID if that person wants to keep driving.
Drivers getting their license back after an OUI suspension have to install an IID
You will usually lose your driving privileges after an arrest and conviction for an impaired driving offense. The length of the suspension reflects the number of offenses on your driving record. Those with many offenses could even have their license suspended for life.
If you do qualify to get your license back after your suspension, you will likely have to install an IID. Usually, the person regaining their license has to have an IID in their vehicle for at least two years. During that time, they have to pay to maintain the IID and perform a test every time they start the vehicle, as well as randomly while they drive.
Those who ask for a hardship license must install an IID
Some people need a license to support themselves and their families and don’t have alternative options for transportation. These individuals may qualify for hardship licenses that allow them to drive for work and to care for their family needs. Typically, they will also need to install an IID as part of this program.
Tampering with the unit, driving a vehicle without an IID installed, driving to a location not permitted in your restrictions or having someone else do the test on your behalf all violate the terms of the restricted license. If you get caught, you might lose your driving privileges and face additional consequences.
Whether you need to protect your license or fight back against a pending OUI charge, understanding how Massachusetts handles driving privileges after an OUI arrest can help you make informed choices.