The Mass. Ignition Interlock Device Law

Every state has enacted a law permitting a court or administrative agency to order a convicted drunk driver to install an ignition interlock for some period after conviction. In Massachusetts, at present, this requirement applies to those who have 2 or more operating under the influence convictions or alcohol program assignments. The ignition interlock device restriction will be applied to any hardship license and it will remain in place for 2 years after the repeat offender has his or her hardship hours removed.

Ignition interlock proponents such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving are attempting to require even first offenders in Massachusetts to drive only with an ignition interlock for a 6 month period.

Ignition interlock devices require a driver to provide a breath sample which does not contain alcohol before allowing the driver to start his or her vehicle. It also requires periodic rolling re-tests. Not taking or failing rolling re-tests can result in a long-term license revocation.

In addition to an automatic license revocation, operating without an ignition interlock device carries minimum sentence of 2½ years to 5 years in state prison, with a minimum mandatory 6 month sentence and a fine of $1,000.00 to $15,000.

Current Ignition interlock devices use technology to detect any tampering, circumvention, or unauthorized disconnection. Any of these acts can trigger severe penalties and license revocations.

As evidenced by one recent case, Massachusetts judges are not sympathetic to those who drive in violation of the ignition interlock restriction. When one defendant was before the court for driving without the IID, the Judge scolded him as follows, “it’s the sense of entitlement. Rules don’t apply to me, so I’m going to do whatever it takes to pursue my livelihood, even though that’s in the face of a restriction.”

If you have questions regarding the Massachusetts IID law or if you have been accused of an ignition interlock violation, you should contact a lawyer who specializes in ignition interlock defense. Effective legal representation may save your driver’s license and prevent a jail sentence.