Disconnecting the head of your Ignition Interlock Device May Result in a 10+ Year Mass. License Suspension

I represented several clients at the RMV Board of Appeal today. While I was waiting for my cases to be called,  a woman who caused a fatal accident in Framingham, Massachusetts a few years ago pled her case for a hardship license. The tragic accident result in the woman’s  19 year old boyfriend being thrown through the windshield of the vehicle and killed. Her license was revoked for 10 years a result of the vehicular homicide conviction.

One of the clients who I represented is facing a potential license revocation for more than 10 years, all because she disconnected the head of her ignition interlock device while driving, because it was beeping, she was lost, her children were crying, and she was running out of gas. We presented documentation explaining why she has trouble providing the required breath sample , especially during periods of stress. For temporarily disconnecting the interlock device, out of frustration, this woman might lose her license for a longer period than the driver who negligently killed someone.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles and the RMV Board of Appeal treat the act of disconnecting an ignition interlock device as circumvention, which is a criminal offense. Ignition interlock circumvention carries a mandatory 10 year license suspension. Plus, if it is done while the driver is on a Massachusetts hardship license, the original suspension will be reinstated and stacked against the 10 year suspension, so that the driver will be off the road for longer than 10 years.  She could have previously killed someone and she would face less of a suspension. It is no coincidence that the Mass. RMV uses restriction code “Z” for  ignition interlock restricted licenses. “Z” stands for zero tolerance and the Registry seems to afford even less than zero tolerance when it comes to ignition interlock violations. Take no chances.