Operating a motor vehicle under the influence (OUI) can impact your life in many ways. You could find yourself paying big fines and spending time in jail, and you could lose your license for a period of time. Even after your license suspension, it is possible you will not have full legal driving privileges.

Many Massachusetts drivers accused of OUI offenses discover that the only way to regain their right to drive is to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in their vehicle. Many people find these devices annoying and humiliating, as they require a driver to perform a chemical test before they can start their vehicle.

Due to concerns about embarrassment and other issues, many people worry about how an IID could impact their life, and they wonder if there is any way to avoid installing one when facing an OUI.

Why does Massachusetts now require IIDs in vehicles?

In the year 2005, Massachusetts passed Melanie’s Law. This special law aims to reduce drunk driving and the fatalities that result from impaired driving accidents. Melanie’s Law increase the criminal penalties for anyone convicted of operating a motor vehicle under the influence, and it also created the Massachusetts ignition interlock device program.

While the IID program does not affect first-time offenders in most cases, it will have an impact on anyone convicted of a second or subsequent OUI offense. If you have a previous conviction for impaired driving, chances are good that you will need to install an IID.

The IID program lets you drive but has its own costs

The IID program actually benefits some people convicted of DUI offenses. It allows them to legally drive, when they otherwise may not have that opportunity. The IID program facilitates improved safety for everyone on the road as well by ensuring that those with more than one previous alcohol offense are sober whenever they get behind the wheel.

After your license suspension, you can receive a limited license with the use of an IID in your vehicle. You will have to pay to install the IID, and you will have to pay a monthly fee of roughly $30. You are only legally allowed to drive a vehicle with an IID installed.

If you drive another vehicle or attempt to tamper with or disable the IID in your vehicle, there could be serious consequences. You could face a longer period of suspension for your license or even revocation of your license depending on the situation. If you see your current or future IID as a burden, remember that it is there to help prevent future problems — and it also allows you to remain independent.