What is the Massachusetts Ignition Interlock Device program?

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2021 | OUI Defense

When a police officer arrests someone for operating under the influence (OUI) in Massachusetts, the arrested driver could end up paying major fines and even serving jail time. The suspension of the driver’s license is also a standard penalty for an OUI conviction.

Keeping someone off the road when they have recently demonstrated a proclivity for unsafe driving habits might be a good policy decision, but it could be a major hardship for that individual. Not having a driver’s license could make it prohibitively expensive to get to work. Those who depend on carpooling, neighbors or public transportation to get to work could end up chronically late or absent and at risk of losing their job. Their license loss could even affect their spouse or children.

If being unable to drive would likely cause hardship, you may be able to participate in the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program to retain some of your driving privileges.

How does the IID program work?

Drivers facing a OUI will typically lose their license. Massachusetts helps drivers with a history of impaired driving offenses develop better driving skills by requiring that they install an IID in any vehicle they drive. Repeat OUI offenders and those with a first-time OUI involving a high blood alcohol concentration could lead to an IID requirement for a driver.

An IID is essentially a chemical breath test hardwired into the ignition that can prevent you from starting your vehicle. You will have to perform a test every time you drive, and you may occasionally have to perform a secondary test while operating the vehicle.

The device records your results, theoretically helping you establish a proven history of sober driving for many months. Eventually, you can transition back to your full driving privileges, which means you can then legally drive a vehicle without an IID installed.

An IID can be beneficial rather than a punishment

When you consider the alternative, needing to install an IID in your vehicle and perform a breath test before you drive isn’t as serious of an inconvenience. Of course, it would be better to avoid the loss of your license in the first place. That approach may require a defense against your pending OUI charges. Fighting back against an OUI charge can help protect your license and your freedom.

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