The Ignition Interlock Department of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicle has been imposing 10-year license revocations when a customer’s Ignition Interlock Device prevents the vehicle from starting. This is known as a failed startup and it has resulted in ignition interlock violation hearings and 10-year license revocations, which the Registry imposes pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 24 ½. The Registry also now penalizes customers for failed start IID violations pursuant to 540 CMR 25.10(9). This Registry Regulation specifically allows the RMV to impose an Ignition Interlock Device Violation Suspension whenever there are 2 Lockouts due to Failed Start-up Tests.
Anyone who is facing one of these failed startup license revocations has the right to appeal to the Division of Insurance, Board of Appeal, and you have the right to be represented by a lawyer both at the Registry Hearing and the Board of Appeal Hearing.
There are numerous legal defenses available to counter these failed startup revocations and hiring the right lawyer can make all the difference. Attorney Brian Simoneau has successfully challenged these revocations on numerous grounds.
The overarching purpose of the Ignition Interlock Program is to separate drinking from driving and the IID does just that. Interlock users are not required to refrain from alcohol consumption and failing an initial start test is not evidence of any attempt to thwart or circumvent the ignition interlock device.
These initial start failures are much different from failed rolling re-tests, where the IID reports that alcohol is being detected while a person is actually driving the vehicle. Failed rolling re-tests may indicate that a drunk driver had someone else blow into the device to start the vehicle or that the diver is drinking alcohol while driving. Failed startups do not raise any of those concerns.
The Massachusetts Ignition Interlock Law, Chapter 122 of the Acts of 2005, became effective on January 1, 2006 and there have been over 36,000 failed startup incidents since then. However, the Registry only recently started penalizing drivers for these failed starts. Prior to this the Registry did not impose license revocations. This sudden shift in enforcement has taken hundreds of ignition interlock users by total surprise and unjustifiably so.
If you are facing a 10 year or indefinite ignition interlock revocation, you should contact a lawyer. It is critical to put the proper legal arguments on the record at any Board of Appeal Hearing so that there will be adequate legal grounds to reverse the license loss.