The Mass. Ignition Interlock Requirements

On January 1, 2006, the ignition interlock requirement of Melanie’s Law (Chapter 122 of the Acts of 2005) when into effect. The law requires anyone with 2 or more driving under the influence convictions or alcohol program assignments on his or her record to use an ignition interlock device while on a Massachusetts hardship license and for 2 years after getting a full license reinstatement. The interlock requirement applies to any second or subsequent Massachusetts DUI suspension which was in effect on or after January 1, 2006.

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles takes a very broad view of who is interlock-required and the Mass. RMV enforces the interlock law with a zero tolerance approach. However, not everyone who the Registry determines is interlock-required must actually have the device.  Drivers who had come off of a hardship license, had their hardship hours removed, or were issued a new and unrestricted Massachusetts Driver’s License prior to January 1, 2006 cannot be legally required to use the ignition interlock device, because of OUI convictions which occurred prior to 2006.

For those Massachusetts drivers, with two or more DUI convictions, and who had hardship or suspended licenses as of January 1, 2006, the use of the ignition interlock device will be mandatory. However, there is an exception for non-residents. Those who do not live and drive in Massachusetts can be excused from Mass. interlock restrictions, upon presentation of acceptable proof of non-residency and an affidavit wherein the driver states that he or she does not live in Massachusetts.

Anyone who is legally interlock-required must not drive any vehicle which is not equipped with a certified ignition interlock device. A conviction for this offense carries a minimum mandatory 6 months in jail, a mandatory file ranging from $1,000 to $15,000, and an automatic 10 year license suspension.