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Mass. IID Violation Procedures


An ignition interlock violation can have severe consequences such as a 10 year or lifetime license revocation. Violations often occur based on false readings caused by the ignition interlock device registering consumed alcohol when the actual source of the readings is food, mouthwash, a contaminant, or some other source. These false ignition interlock readings occur because ignition interlock devices do not use infrared spectrometry to differentiate between contaminants and breath alcohol. Instead, to keep costs down, the interlock devices use less reliable fuel cell technology.

When an ignition interlock violation occurs it is imperative that the interlock user take steps to defend himself or herself from a license revocation. Since alcohol evidence is fleeting, time is of the essence when an interlock violation occurs. To protect yourself, you should immediately document the facts and circumstances of the event. You should also call the ignition interlock service provider to notify them of the false positive reading. The best evidence of not having alcohol in your system is a comparison blood or breath test. I, therefore, instruct my clients to go to a police station and ask for a comparison breath test in the event of a false positive alcohol reading. Some police officers have portable breath test (PBT) units which they can use to dispel the false positive readings. If you go to a police station for a breath test, you should ask that the police make a log entry regarding the incident, whether they administer a PBT or not. Also, you can go to the hospital and ask for a blood alcohol level (BAL) test.

If your ignition interlock device registers an alcohol reading and it triggers a lockout, you should proactively notify the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Unit, which is located at 136 Blackstone Street in Boston. By proactively notifying the Registry of all of the facts and circumstances of the ignition interlock violation, you may avoid a 10 year of lifetime license suspension. The Registry will eventually learn of the violation from your ignition interlock service provider. By informing them of the incident ahead of time, you may prevent a finding against you.

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