The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has recently started imposing 10-year license revocations for initial start ignition interlock violations. This is a drastic departure from the past practice of excusing these violations on the grounds that the program is working as intended. The purpose of the ignition interlock program is to separate drinking from driving and the Registry would previously not have penalized the driver for failed start up attempts. The Registry viewed these failed starts as successes. The Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) prevented a vehicle from starting when the driver had alcohol in his or her system. That’s precisely what the devices are designed to do.
Now, however, the Registry is revoking licenses for 10 years based on failed start up attempts. The Ignition Interlock Department of the Massachusetts RMV has taken the position that a driver who attempts to start his or her vehicle and is unable to do so due to alcohol readings may have his or her license revoked for 10 years.
Based on what I have seen, a single initial start failure will not trigger a violation notice. Instead, there must be multiple initial start failures during a single service period. When this happens, the driver is summonsed to a hearing at the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Department, which is located at 136 Blackstone Street in Boston, Massachusetts.
At the Ignition Interlock Violation hearing, a specially trained hearing officer from the Interlock Department reviews the failed start up attempts and any other alcohol readings with the customer and ask for an explanation. If the explanation is not satisfactory, the customer will receive a notice in the mail indicating that the Registrar has revoked his or her license for a period of 10 years for the initial start violations.
If you have received a hearing, violation, or revocation notice from MassDOT regarding alleged ignition interlock violations, I urge you to contact me. I am the premier lawyer in Massachusetts when it comes to the Ignition Interlock Device. No other Massachusetts attorney has the depth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to mounting a successful ignition interlock violation defense.