In Massachusetts multiple and certain first-time OUI offenders are required to install and maintain an ignition interlock device for a set period time. Multiple offenders are required to maintain an interlock device for a minimum of two years. First-time OUI offenders are now required to have an Interlock Device installed under certain circumstances for the period of a hardship license. Under updated regulations the Massachusetts Interlock Department is becoming much more active in their enforcement of non-compliance and violations of the interlock program. If found in violation of the interlock program your license could be suspended anywhere from 6 months, 10 years or for life.
What Is An Interlock Device
An interlock device is a handheld device that measures the concentration of alcohol in your breath. Operators who are required to maintain an interlock device must pass a start-up test before the vehicle will start. In addition to start-up tests, operators are also required to provide breath samples while operating the vehicle. These samples are called rolling re-tests.
Who Must Install And Maintain An Interlock Device
Under Massachusetts law individuals who have multiple OUI convictions and are reinstating their driving privileges with two or more OUI's on the record must maintain an interlock device. Additionally, first time offenders who when arrested failed the breathalyzer test at the police station and had a BAC over 0.015 or above must maintain an interlock device if granted a hardship license. The minimum period for an interlock requirement for individuals with multiple OUI convictions is two years. However, if you have multiple convictions and are granted a hardship license, the interlock is required for the duration of the hardship period plus an additional two years after the full 24/7 reinstatement.
What Is A Vehicle Lockout?
A lockout occurs if any of the following offenses occur. If the vehicle goes into lockout, you only have 48-hours to bring your vehicle to your service provider for inspector. If you fail to do so within 48-hours, the interlock will enter a permanent Lockout and the vehicle will not be operational and must be towed to the interlock service provider to be unlocked. If you fail to have your vehicle serviced within 30 days of your previously calibration, you will have a permanent lockout immediately and must have the vehicle towed to the service provider.
What Offenses Cause A Lockout?
The interlock device will be immediately lockout if any of the following occurs:
1. Two failed startup tests within one service period.
2. One missed service visit.
3. Two missed rolling retests within one service period.
4. One failed rolling retest.
If any of the following offenses occur, operators are notified immediately that they have 48 hours to address the lockout. If the lockout is due to failed start-up tests, you will be able to start the vehicle once you provide a breath sample below 0.02.
What To Do If You Receive A Lockout?
The Registry places the burden on operators to establish that the lockout was either invalid or not the fault of the operator. Interlock operators must request a hearing within 30-days of the lockout to discuss the matter with a hearing officer from the interlock department. Failure to contest the lockout within the 30-day window will prevent the operator from doing so at a later date. You should immediately consider contacting an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the Massachusetts Interlock Program.
What Are Interlock Program Violations?
1. Operating a motor vehicle without an Interlock Device
2. Soliciting or allowing another person to blow into an Interlock Device to start the vehicle or during a rolling re-test.
3. Using any other means other than blowing breath into the interlock device.
4. Tampering with the Interlock Device.
5. A failed rolling re-test in which your BAC is .05 or above.
6. Two failed rolling re-tests within one service period in which the BAC is between .02 and .05.
7. Two lockouts due to missed rolling re-tests over the life of IID requirement.
8. Two missed service visits over the life of the IID requirement.
9. Two lockouts due to failed start-up tests over the life of the IID requirement.
What To Do if You Receive a Lockout or Violation
If you believe the violation is due to a mechanical issue with the device you should immediately contact your interlock vendor. Request the vendor send you copies of their notes/comments relative to this documentation. The Registry will send a notification at some point in the future after the RMV is notified of any of the above violations.
What should you do if your interlock (IID) registers a violation?
If you find that your ignition interlock device has registered a violation and you haven't consumed any alcohol, it is crucial to take immediate action. The recommended steps to follow in this situation are to promptly visit a police station or hospital to obtain a comparison blood alcohol test or breathalyzer test. This test will provide an accurate measure of your alcohol level and help establish your innocence near the time of the violation. Additionally, it is advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible after receiving an ignition interlock violation notice. A lawyer will be able to provide essential guidance and assistance in addressing the issue effectively and put you in the best position to avoid a license suspension.