The Massachusetts Ignition Interlock Law

Ok. I’m repeating myself, but I can’t help it. I continue to get a high volume of inquiries from people who are trying to get out of having the ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Given the problems, frustration, inconvenience, embarrassment, anxiety, and expense associated with the interlock devices, I don’t blame them. However, the Registry and RMV Board of Appeal adhere to strict rules regarding interlock requirements. In the vast majority of cases, if the Registry or Board of Appeal determine that a Massachusetts driver is ignition-interlock required, there is no way to successfully challenge this requirement.

The ignition interlock aspect of Melanie’s law went into effect on January 1, 2006. It says that anyone who has 2 or more DUI convictions or alcohol program assignments, anywhere in the world at anytime, must have the ignition interlock device for 2 years after getting a full reinstatement and for the entire length of any DUI hardship license, when they are reinstating or coming off of a hardship license on or after January 1, 2006, the Massachusetts interlock cutoff date.

If someone is legally interlock required, there is absolutely, positively, definitely no way around this requirement, other than moving out of Massachusetts. In those cases, where an interlock driver establishes residency outside of the Commonwealth, the RMV –may- excuse him or her from the interlock requirement. However, the driver must prove non-residency at a RMV hearing and he or she will not be allowed to drive in Massachusetts without interlock.

This mandatory interlock requirement has presented serious obstacles. For example, some people are required to drive company vehicles and their employer will not allow the device to be installed therein. Others, such as real estate brokers, for example, must transport customers and clients in their vehicles. The interlock device is a huge source of embarrassment and humiliation for these drivers. Nevertheless, the interlock law is applied and enforced with a zero tolerance approach. The Board of Appeal and Massachusetts Registry take the approach that interlock-required drivers are fortunate to have licenses at all and the interlock is a small price to pay for the privilege of driving in Massachusetts.