The Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles imposes 10-year license revocations for ignition interlock violations, such as missed rolling retests, failed rolling re-tests, initial start violations, tampering, circumvention, and disconnection. Not all of these revocations are legally valid and I have reversed many of them on appeal. There are thousands of ignition interlock devices currently in use in Massachusetts and the very profitable interlock industry is lobbying hard to increase their use.
My office receives a large number of calls from frantic ignition interlock users who have experienced violations and lockouts. They are rightfully fearful of long-term license revocations based on alcohol readings. Interlock users should proactively take steps to protect themselves from false or and inaccurate readings.
One way to save your license is to purchase a hand-held personal breath testing device and keep in in your motor vehicle. These devices are available on Amazon for approximately $150.00. If your ignition interlock device registers a false alcohol reading, you can take a comparison breath test with your personal device and you can electronically record yourself taking this test with your cell phone. This time and date stamped video can be introduced at your ignition interlock violation hearing to show that the device was not working properly. You may also be able to use this video to reverse the fee which your service provider will assess in the event of a lockout.
A video showing that the IID was not working properly on the date and time in question may be worth its weight in gold when it comes to saving your driver’s license from a 10-year revocation. The Registry Hearing Officers who I have dealt with over the years have been receptive to exculpatory evidence and creating a video showing that the IID reading was incorrect is one way to prevent the loss of your license.
Please do not record the video while your vehicle is in motion. If you experience a rolling re-test violation, you should pull over to a safe location to create the video. Do not let the IID distract you from driving.
If you don’t have your own hand-held breath test device, you can go to the nearest police station and request to be tested. Most Massachusetts Police Departments will have an officer administer a portable breath test as a courtesy.