I am writing regarding the dangers of tampering with, bypassing, disconnecting, or attempting to circumvent, in any way, breath alcohol ignition interlock devices; such action could cost you your license and result in criminal charges.

Because of Melanie’s Law, Massachusetts drivers who have 2 or more DUI convictions on their records and who are reinstating after January 1, 2006, the effective date of the ignition interlock requirements of Melanie’s Law must have the devices installed in any vehicle which the subsequent offender owns, leases, or operates. Interlock usage will be mandatory during the term of any Massachusetts hardship license and for 2 years thereafter.

The ignition interlock device is a fuel-cell based electronic device which is designed to prevent a vehicle from starting if his or her blood alcohol content registers above a certain limit. In Massachusetts, that limit is set by Registry regulation at .02, a very low threshold.

Ignition interlock devices were built to resist and record any attempt to tamper with or circumvent them. They are equipped with memories which record any loss of power, low voltage, high voltage, battery disconnection, remote head disconnection and other similar occurrences. Ignition interlocks used in Massachusetts have special tamper seals which will show if an interlock device was opened without authorization. The Mass. RMV takes a zero tolerance approach to interlock violations and the simple act of temporarily disconnecting the remote head may result in a 10 year license revocation.

Ignition interlock devices are prone to false positive readings and having to use one can be inconvenient and embarrassing. Bypassing the interlock device may be tempting. However, the interlock was designed to resist and record any attempt to bypass or defeat it. It is highly likely that any attempt to bypass the interlock device will be detected at the monthly monitoring appointment and reported forthwith to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.