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Avoiding an Ignition Interlock License Revocation

Ignition Interlock Devices

In Massachusetts, an ignition interlock violation can result in a 10 year license revocation. To avoid this harsh penalty, it is critical to take steps to protect yourself from false readings and to be a responsible ignition interlock user.

The Registry has been imposing license revocations for initial start violations and one of the ways to prevent the loss of your license is to produce exculpatory evidence in the form of breath samples which do not register as alcohol. Some Ignition Interlock Devices, such as the Consumer Safety Technologies (CST) Intoxalock, are programmed to repeatedly request breath samples in rapid succession when alcohol is detected during the initial vehicle start up process.

If your IID requests repeated breath samples during this initial start phase, it is likely because the device detected alcohol when it analyzed your initial breath sample. Some interlock users would not provide further samples for several hours in this situation.

A Registry Hearing Officer reviewing the record will see these numerous and repeated unsatisfied breath sample requests and he or she may interpret your refusal to provide follow-up samples as evidence of an attempt to start your vehicle after you had consumed alcohol. The Registry views this as a violation of the IID Program.

To avoid the appearance of alcohol consumption and any inference that you attempted to start your vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, you should provide the requested breath samples. If the readings were not the result of ingested alcoholic beverages, the alcohol readings should return to zero fairly rapidly and an experienced Interlock Hearing Officer will see that the readings were the product of contamination or malfunction.

If you have experienced an unjustified lockout or a false IID alcohol reading, you should thoroughly document all facts and circumstances. Some IID users have requested exculpatory breath tests from Police Departments. In order for these tests to carry weight, they must be conducted close in time to the false alcohol reading.

IID customers have 30 days to contest a lockout by appearing before a Registry Hearing Officer. The Registry will assume that any uncontested lockouts are valid and may hold them against the customer.

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