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In What Circumstances Can Drivers in Massachusetts Qualify for an Ignition Interlock Device Exemption?

Criminal Defense

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle that prevents the engine from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above a predetermined limit. This device is often mandated by the court for individuals convicted of drunk driving offenses, especially repeat offenders. The goal is to prevent further incidents of drunk driving and to ensure the safety of the driver and others on the road.

In Massachusetts, the law requires that any driver convicted of a second or subsequent Operating Under the Influence (OUI) offense must have an IID installed in their vehicle during the license suspension period and for at least two years after the license is reinstated. However, there are certain circumstances where a driver may qualify for an exemption from this requirement.

When Can I Be Exempted from the Ignition Interlock Device Requirement?

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) allows for certain exemptions from the IID requirement. These exemptions are not granted lightly and are only considered under specific circumstances.

One such circumstance is if you can prove that you do not own, lease, or operate a motor vehicle. This is known as the “no vehicle” exemption. To qualify, you must submit a sworn affidavit to the RMV stating that you do not own or have access to a vehicle and that you will not drive without an IID installed.

Another exemption is the “medical exemption.” If you have a medical condition that prevents you from providing a breath sample, you may be exempt from the IID requirement. However, you must provide documentation from a licensed physician detailing your condition and explaining why it prevents you from using the device.

How Can I Apply for an Ignition Interlock Device Exemption?

Applying for an IID exemption in Massachusetts involves a detailed process. For the “no vehicle” exemption, you must submit an affidavit to the RMV. This affidavit must be notarized and include specific language provided by the RMV.

For the “medical exemption,” you must submit a medical exemption form completed by your physician. The form must detail your medical condition and explain why it prevents you from providing a breath sample. The RMV will then review your application and make a determination.

Even if you are granted an exemption, you are still prohibited from driving a vehicle without an IID installed. If you are caught doing so, you could face severe penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and further license suspension.

How Can an Experienced Lawyer Help with My Ignition Interlock Device Exemption?

Navigating the legal complexities of an IID exemption can be challenging. An experienced lawyer can provide invaluable assistance in this process. They can help you understand the requirements, gather the necessary documentation, and present a compelling case to the RMV.

For example, let’s say you suffer from a respiratory condition that prevents you from providing a breath sample. Your lawyer can work with your physician to ensure that your medical exemption form accurately reflects your condition and its impact on your ability to use an IID. They can also help you prepare for any hearings or appeals that may arise during the process.

An experienced lawyer can also provide guidance on how to avoid potential pitfalls. For instance, if you are granted a “no vehicle” exemption but later purchase a car, you must notify the RMV and have an IID installed. Failure to do so could result in severe penalties. Your lawyer can advise you on these and other important legal obligations.

What Happens If I Violate the Ignition Interlock Device Requirement?

Violating the IID requirement in Massachusetts can lead to severe consequences. If you are caught driving a vehicle without an IID when you are required to have one, you could face penalties such as fines, imprisonment, and further license suspension.

Can I Get an Ignition Interlock Device Exemption for Work Purposes?

In some cases, you may be able to obtain an exemption for work purposes. This is known as a “work exemption” or “employment exemption.” However, this exemption is not easily granted and requires a detailed application process.

To qualify for a work exemption, you must prove that you need to drive a company vehicle as part of your job and that the vehicle cannot be equipped with an IID. You must also provide a letter from your employer stating that you are required to drive as part of your duties, that the employer is aware of your OUI conviction, and that the employer’s vehicle cannot be equipped with an IID.

Even if you are granted a work exemption, you are still required to have an IID installed in your personal vehicle. Additionally, the work exemption only applies during working hours and does not allow you to drive the company vehicle for personal use.

What if I’m a First-Time Offender?

If you’re a first-time offender, you might be wondering if the IID requirement applies to you. In Massachusetts, the IID requirement typically applies to individuals convicted of a second or subsequent OUI offense. However, the court has discretion to order an IID for first-time offenders, especially if the offense involved a high BAC or other aggravating factors.

If you have been involved in a car accident or are facing an OUI charge, call The Law Office of Brian Simoneau today at 508-625-5776 for a free case evaluation!

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