Avoiding Ignition Interlock Violations

If you have a Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) installed in your motor vehicle, you should take precautions to avoid an IID violation, which can result in the revocation of your Massachusetts Driver’s License. IIDs are not foolproof and they sometimes register false positive readings. Fortunately, there are simple things that you can do to reduce the probability of a false positive reading.

First, if you are sending your vehicle out for service, you should notify the the mechanic or repair facility that your vehicle has an IID and that you are responsible for any violations. With thousands of ignition interlocks in operation in Massachusetts, most repair facilities are probably familiar with the devices.

When vehicles are being serviced, it is common to have errors such as voice tone aborts and missed rolling re-tests. You may also have alcohol readings if the repair person has alcohol on his breath. Finally, your IID may register tampering, circumvention, voltage fluctuations, and battery disconnections. It is absolutely imperative to get documentation from the repair facility showing when your vehicle was brought in for service, the repair work done, and when the vehicle was returned. The paperwork should also reflect the odometer mileage.

In the event that a violation occurs while the vehicle was being serviced, you will be able to demonstrate that at an ignition interlock violation hearing by producing the paperwork. This may prevent a long-term license revocation.

Next, you should not have anything in your mouth except water, for the 15 minute period immediately before trying to start your vehicle. Ignition interlock devices can mistake food products, mouthwashes, candy, gum, mints, cough drops, and other consumables as alcohol. To prevent this from happening, you can rinse your mouth out with water and consume nothing by mouth prior to blowing into the IID.

Finally, you should notify anyone who operates your vehicle that you will be initially held responsible for any alcohol readings or ignition interlock infractions or violations. To avoid major problems with the Registry, anyone who drives your car should not consume any alcoholic beverages prior to driving or attempting to start the car. The Registry operates on the presumption that the person with the “Z” restriction on his or her license was the operator of the car. In order to overcome this presumption, at your Ignition Interlock Violation Hearing, you must produce evidence to show that you were not operating the vehicle.

If you are driving on an ignition interlock restricted hardship license, you will need to use the IID for a minimum of 2 years after having the “H” restriction from your license. This means that you should have the hours taken off as soon as your suspension expires. The 2 year mandatory IID period will commence only when the “H” restriction is removed from your driver’s license.

If you have questions regarding ignition interlock violations, contact a lawyer at 508-656-0057 for a review of your situation.