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Ignition interlock devices: Strict requirements in Massachusetts

Drunk driving convictions in Massachusetts come with specific penalties that you should be aware of. For some individuals, the use of an ignition interlock device is required. If you are court-ordered to install one of these devices, you must use it every time you drive. Failing to comply with the court order can lead to serious legal troubles.

Here are some other things you need to know about ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in Massachusetts.

Ignition interlock fundamentals

  • An ignition interlock device prevents a vehicle from starting unless you provide a breath sample and it is below the threshold for blood alcohol concentration. It also requires random tests while you are driving.
  • You must have approval from a Registry of Motor Vehicles Hearings Officer before you have a device installed on your vehicle. The officer will provide the required paperwork.
  • You must have a device installed on each vehicle that you operate, lease or own. This includes your employer's vehicles if you drive for work purposes.
  • Failing to have a device installed on a vehicle eliminates the possibility of receiving a hardship license or having your license reinstated.
  • You can't drive yourself to the installation appointment, so plan to have someone bring you. Since instructions are given at the installation, you must be there. Be sure to bring your photo identification.
  • After the installation, bring the affidavits you received and the proof that the IID was installed to your Hearings Officer.
  • The ignition interlock device records all test results and vehicle activity. You must go to the monthly scheduled visits at the installer. This is when data is pulled from the device and transmitted to the RMV.
  • You can't have a BAC of more than .02 percent. If your test indicates you do, you will fail. You can't drive the vehicle until you get a passing result. If you fail twice during one service period, or one month, your vehicle will go into lockout. You have 48 hours to go to the vendor for a reset. If you don't do this, the vehicle will have to be towed to the vendor.
  • Rolling retests must be completed within five minutes of the indication one is required. You can do this while you drive. However, you should pull over if it is safe and lawful to do so.
  • An ignition interlock can't be removed if you've had any infractions or violations within six months.

Know your rights

If you are facing drunk driving charges, find out if your case will require you to have an ignition interlock. Learn about what options you have for your defense so you can plan accordingly. An attorney can help you protect your legal rights.

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