Ignition Interlock Devices

OUI Attorney in Massachusetts

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, legislation was passed in 2005 providing enhanced license suspension penalties and license reinstatement requirements. Known as "Melanie's Law," the legislation established enhanced license suspension and revocation periods as well as the Ignition Interlock Device Program. An Ignition Interlock Device, also known as IID for short, is a piece of equipment that is installed in a motor vehicle. It requires the operator to provide a breath sample prior to starting their vehicle and periodically while the vehicle is in operation, i.e. rolling re-test. The device measures the alcohol concentration in the operator's breath to ensure they are sober prior to and while operating their vehicle. If the operator has alcohol in their system and the IID detects it, the vehicle will not start and may prevent them from operating their vehicle for a given period of time, known as lock-out.

When Is an Ignition Interlock Device Required?

Melanie's Law required that an IID be installed and maintained by a licensed installer and be used by operators who have been granted a hardship license for any operator with two or more OUI offenses on their driving record. If an operator is granted a hardship license, an IID is required to be installed and used for the entire length of their suspension. The law also requires that an operator with two or more OUI offenses on their driving record who has had their full license reinstated after completion of an OUI related suspension IID installed in their vehicle for a minimum of two years. It should also be noted that the IID requirement does not automatically become lifted upon the end of the required period. The operator must appeal to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to have the requirement lifted to allow the operator to remove the device.

There are several different types of ignition interlock devices available from a variety of manufacturers. There are numerous vendors located across the Commonwealth who can install and service the device. Operators are responsible for the installation fees, monthly maintenance fees, administrative fee of $30 per month, and any additional fees associated with failed tests and lock-outs. For a list of vendors, please follow the link here.

Ignition Interlock Device Violations Chart

Violation Frequency Result

Tamper with IID or
Circumventing the IID

Any one time

May result in additional License Suspension

Soliciting another to provide air sample or
Providing an air sample to a person with an IID restriction

Any one time

May result in additional License Suspension

Providing air sample by artificial means

Any one time

May result in additional License Suspension

Failed Start-Ups

Any two times during a service period
(1-30 days)

Lockout

Miss a monthly service visit

Any one time

Lockout

Miss a rolling re-test

Any two times during a service period
(1-30 days)

Lockout

Fail a rolling re-test with a BAC of greater than .02%

Any one time

Lockout

Remove the IID without authorization

Anytime during the period you are required to have the IID

License Revocation

Operate a vehicle not equipped with an IID

Anytime during the period you are required to have the IID

License Revocation

An ignition interlock device is installed in the vehicle and connected to the engine's ignition system. Before the vehicle can be started, you will have to blow 1.5 liters of air into the alcohol sensor unit. The device is preset to prevent the vehicle from starting if you have a reading of greater than .02 BAC. Every 25-30 days you will need to go to your vendor so that they can upload and transfer your data to the RMV.

Ignition Interlock Device Rules and Regulations

The Commonwealth provides an Ignition Interlock Device Program guide. The rules and regulations that govern the IID program can be found below:

  • Chapter 90, § 24
    • Driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, etc.; second and subsequent offenses; punishment; treatment programs; reckless and unauthorized driving; failure to stop after collision
  • Chapter 90, § 24 ½
    • Ignition interlock device license restriction; revocation of license for failure to install or maintain device; revocation of license for attempt to operate motor vehicle with elevated blood alcohol level
  • 540 CMR 25.00
    • Certification, installation, use and maintenance of ignition interlock devices
  • 801 CMR 4.02
    • Fees including but not limited to ignition interlock program administration fee

Contact Our Firm for Seasoned & Proven Counsel

The penalties for driving under the influence are often severe, but a Massachusetts OUI attorney may be able to help you if you have been charged with a DUI. If you are facing OUI charges, you are at risk of losing some of your most valued personal freedoms. We have devoted a large part of our practice to defending clients against OUI-related offenses and may be able to help you fight your charges. Our team works with our clients to create an intricate defense strategy to give them the best chance of success in court. It makes no difference if this is your first offense or if you have multiple OUI convictions; you need the representation of an experienced and aggressive lawyer who will advocate for your rights.

Contact a Massachusetts OUI lawyer to learn more about ignition interlock devices and the other penalties you face if convicted of operating under the influence.