I get a high volume of inquiries regarding whether the use of an ignition interlock device is really required. Massachusetts license holders contact me after the Mass. RMV has informed them that they will need to use a certified breath alcohol ignition interlock device in any vehicle which the own, lease , or drive. This ignition interlock requirement must remain in place during any Massachusetts hardship license and for 2 years after the driver gets the restricted hours removed from his or her license.
Breath alcohol ignition interlock devices are lockout devices which prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol registers above .02. To insure that the driver did not have someone else blow into his or her device, the interlock device requires drivers to provide breath samples at random intervals while the vehicle is being driven.
Ignition interlock devices are required, by Melanie’s Law, to be used by anyone with 2 or more OUI convictions or alcohol program assignments on his or her record who is reinstating a license or coming off of a hardship license after January 1, 2006. In the vast majority of cases, if the Registry of Motor Vehicles states that a driver is interlock-required, there is no way to get around the requirement. Neither the Mass. RMV nor the Board of Appeal will “bend the law” or make exceptions. If you are legally required to have the interlock device, there is no way around it.
Both the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Board of Appeal view the ignition interlock device as an effective tool which protects the public by physically prohibiting someone who has consumed alcohol from driving. Neither agency has any interest in excusing people from using what its proponents tout as a lifesaving device. In fact, there is legislation pending at the Massachusetts Statehouse which would toughen Melanie’s Law by requiring even first offenders to use the ignition interlock device. It is likely that this legislation will pass.
Attorney Brian E. Simoneau is an expert on the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device. He has successfully defended clients charged with interlock violations at the Registry, Board of Appeal, and in Superior Court. If you are charged with a Massachusetts Ignition Interlock Violation, contact him today at 508-881-1119.