What is an IID?
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a device that is used as a form of regulation, rehabilitation, and a safety measure designed to protect people from someone who has been convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence (OUI). While it may primarily feel like a punishment, the primary use of the device is to protect the driver of the vehicle with an IID as well as other drivers on the road.
An IID tests the blood alcohol level (BAC) of the driver to ensure the driver’s BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08% or lower if ordered by a judge. The IID looks like a breathalyzer, similar to what law enforcement officers use. The driver must blow into the device for a prolonged period, often while humming.
The vehicle will start if the driver’s BAC is below the legal limit. Sometimes, the driver will be subject to a “rolling test,” or a test may be required while the vehicle is in operation to ensure the driver remains below the legal limit while operating the vehicle.
How Can Normal Wear Affect an IID?
An IID is a piece of electronic equipment that is installed in a vehicle that disables the ignition. The driver must test below the legal limit before their vehicle can be started. Like all electronic systems, this device can be prone to wear, tear, and damage.
A damaged or malfunctioning IID presents a unique set of issues. If the device is not working, it can result in the vehicle being rendered unusable. If someone is required by law to have an IID installed in their vehicle because of an OUI conviction, it is their responsibility to bring their vehicle to the IID servicer to ensure it is functioning correctly. If the servicer feels like there is evidence of tampering, they will be required to report the suspicion.
If it is determined that the driver has tampered with their device, it can result in fines, jail time, and the revocation of their driver’s license, up to a lifetime suspension!
Needless to say, the driver will want to ensure the device is well-maintained; otherwise, they risk being late, stranded, or facing legal trouble.
What is IID Tampering?
Tampering is any attempt to either circumvent the IID test, bypass the IID, or damage the IID in order to pass the test.
Some versions of tampering can include running a wire directly from the car battery to the ignition or ‘hotwiring.’ Attempting to cut wires attaching the IID to the vehicle in an attempt to disable the device is another form of tampering.
People also attempt to circumvent the test by having someone else take the IID because they believe they may fail the test, and having someone else take the test will allow a potentially intoxicated person to start their vehicle.
In Massachusetts, it is a felony to interfere or tamper with a certified ignition interlock device with the intent to disable the device. Tampering with an IID carries a penalty of incarceration in state prison for up to five years and a minimum sentence of six months in a house of correction.
IID installers and servicers use various methods to determine if the device has been tampered with, from tamper-evident seals, tamper-evident tape, and a physical and visual examination of the device.
Is it Normal Wear or Tampering?
It can be hard to navigate life when someone has an IID installed in their vehicle. It is only natural to be worried about the device and its well-being because a tampering charge is not something the average person would want on their record. No one wants to be accused of tampering when normal wear and tear can be expected of pretty much any electronic device, including an IID.
If you have had an IID installed in your vehicle after an OUI charge, it is essential to properly maintain the device and make all of your IID service appointments. If your device has malfunctioned because of normal wear and assumptions are being made about your involvement in the device’s decline, it is important to contact an attorney experienced in OUI convictions and IID.
Call the Law Office of Brian Simoneau, P.C., at 508-625-5776 to schedule a free case review.