How does the IID program or Melanie’s Law work?

| Nov 5, 2020 | OUI |

Those who have lost loved ones to drunk driving accidents have done an incredible job of lobbying for more laws about drunk driving and also increasing public awareness about the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks.

In 2005, Massachusetts passed Melanie’s law, a memorial law intended to help prevent recidivism among those convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses. Melanie’s Law resulted in the creation of an ignition interlock device (IID) program for those regaining their licenses after an operating under the influence (OUI) conviction in Massachusetts.

How does the IID program work if you will have to participate in order to get your license back?

Massachusetts expects you to pay for the device and only drive with an IID

Installing and maintaining an IID in your vehicle isn’t free. However, you will have to cover those costs if you want to get back behind the wheel. There will be restrictions on your license that make it illegal for you to drive a vehicle without an IID in it while you participate in the program. If you get pulled over while driving a vehicle without an IID, you could lose your license and potentially face other consequences as well.

You have to do a test every time you drive           

In order to drive with an IID installed in your vehicle, you will have to perform a chemical breath test when you start the vehicle and then possibly randomly while you drive as well. These tests will have to show that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at 0.02% or lower.

If your BAC is higher than that, you will have effectively failed the test, meaning the device will not permit you to drive. Additionally, there will be a digital report regarding the failed test that could have implications for you as you try to get your license back.

Compliance with the IID program shows a pattern of responsible driving

It is far too easy to become focused on the expense, embarrassment and inconvenience of an IID instead of looking at it as a useful tool. While you may not have a choice about installing the device, you do have the option of having a positive attitude about it.

After all, it can create a verifiable record of sober and safe driving that will help you get your full driving privileges back eventually. Additionally, it may instill better safety practices that could help you avoid future issues with the law in the future.

Whether you find yourself facing an impaired driving charge or need to get your license back after a DUI-related suspension, you may need to talk about your situation with an attorney to improve your chances of a good outcome.