Anyone accused of operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs in Massachusetts will likely find themselves facing criminal charges. The consequences for those charges could include fines, jail time and the suspension of your license.

The consequences for an OUI can last for months after your conviction. In some circumstances, after you get your license back, the state can mandate that you must install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle as part of the process of getting your driving privileges back. Understanding when Massachusetts requires the installation of an IID can help you prepare for the process of getting your license back.

Those with prior OUI offenses may have to install IIDs

The idea behind the mandated installation of an IID in a person’s vehicle is to prevent repeat OUI offenses and thereby increase public safety. Recidivism is common among those charged with OUI offenses, especially if the drug or alcohol consumption that leads to the arrest stems from substance abuse issues.

Those who have not addressed the underlying cause of habitual substance abuse problems may struggle to change their behavior, even after an arrest. By ordering the installation of an IID, the state effectively hopes to reduce the number of people who get behind the wheel after drinking more than once. The more complicated your driving history and the more previous OUI offenses on your record, the longer you will likely have to drive with an IID installed in your vehicle.

IIDs are also part of the hardship license program

When the state suspends your license for an alleged impaired driving offense, you can potentially go to court and ask for a hardship license that will allow you to continue earning income and perform the necessary duties that are your responsibilities for your household. You do so by claiming that the loss of your license is a hardship, and the courts, if they agree, can issue a hardship license.

Hardship licenses restrict your driving privileges to only 12 hours a day. Additionally, they require that you install and maintain an IID, which means you will have to test your breath every time you get behind the wheel. Although doing so can be a source of frustration, it is less frustrating than not having the legal ability to drive at all.