Melanie’s Law was enacted to increase drunk driving penalties in Massachusetts. One provision of the law which went into effect on January 1, 2006, requires anyone with 2 or more DUI convictions on their records who is reinstating after January 1, 2006, or having their hardship hours removed, to use an ignition interlock device for 2 years. Use of the ignition interlock device for repeat DUI offenders on hardship licenses is mandatory. Also, out of state DUI convictions count just as Massachusetts OUI convictions, for determining whether the IID is required.
In the case of Gordon v. Registrar of Motor Vehicles, the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that the IID requirement was constitutional and the law did not violate the ex post facto clause of the Constitution.
Ignition interlocks can be expensive and burdensome. They can also have employment consequences by preventing users from driving work or company vehicles. However, they are mandatory for second and subsequent DUI offenders while hardship restrictions are in effect and for a minimum of 2 years after the hardship restrictions are lifted.
In the case of Commonwealth v. Sean Pettit, the Appeals Court ruled that an ignition interlock required driver whose license was revoked could not be convicted of driving without an ignition interlock device and operating after revocation. The court ruled that the ignition interlock device restriction only applies to active licenses and a Massachusetts driver’s license cannot be restricted and revoked at the same time.
The Board of Appeal generally supports the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Device restrictions for public safety reasons. MADD has repeatedly stated that ignition interlocks are much more effective than license suspensions and the Board of Appeal has been hesitant to excuse driver’s from that requirement. Ignition interlock use is mandated for repeat DUI offenders by G.L. c. 90 Section 24 ½.