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Ignition Interlock Device Violations


8 Ways to Lose your License for Ignition Interlock Device Violations

The Registry implemented its Ignition Interlock Device (IID) program when Melanie’s Law was enacted on January 1, 2006. Since then, it has revoked thousands of driver’s licenses for violations. The Registry imposes these ignition interlock suspensions during the entire term of any hardship license and for 10 years thereafter. The Registry has the harshest penalties in the country for interlock violations and it imposes them with a zero-tolerance approach.

The initial hearing notice informs the customer that his license will be indefinitely suspended due to an ignition interlock violation. If the outcome of the violation hearing is not favorable, the letter issued after the hearing will inform the interlock customer that his license has been suspended for 10 years for an ignition interlock violation.

There are 8 ways that you can lose your license for ignition interlock violations in Massachusetts.

  • Driving without the ignition interlock device
  • Having someone blow into the ignition interlock device to allow you to drive the vehicle
  • Using any means to provide an air sample other than blowing a breath directly into the IID
  • Tampering with or circumventing the ignition interlock device
  • A single failed rolling re-test with a reading at or above .05
  • Two failed rolling re-tests within one service period with a reading between .02 and .05
  • Two lockouts due to missed rolling re-tests
  • Two missed service visits (these are the monthly download and calibration visits).

Any evidence of the above-listed ignition interlock violations will trigger the Registry to issue a hearing notice which requires you to appear before a Registry Hearing Officer to explain the interlock violations. You are entitled to legal counsel and you should not attend this hearing without a lawyer. The stakes are too high. If the Hearing Officer rules against you, the RMV will impose a 10-year Ignition Interlock Violation (IVO) license revocation.

The Registry used to impose interlock violation suspensions for failed startups. However, they have finally come to their senses and stopped imposing these illegal license suspensions.

Many of these interlock violation cases are defensible and I have saved a large number of clients from 10-year IVO revocations, both at the Registry and the Board of Appeal. There are often defenses available and it is important to properly prepare for these hearings by collecting exculpatory evidence. The interlock violation hearing notice contains very little specific information. You must obtain a violation history report from your IID service provider such as Smart Start, Intoxalock, or Draeger as a first step in the IVO hearing preparation process.

Please contact my office if you have received an Ignition Interlock Violation Notice from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you have questions about the violation notice, you can contact the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Department at 508-625-5776.

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