Allowing a Person with an IID Restriction to Operate a Motor Vehicle in Massachusetts

If you’ve been charged with allowing someone with an IID restriction to drive your vehicle you should know the background of the law before going to court.

In Massachusetts, in 2005 a law took effect which significantly increased the penalties faced by individuals caught operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances (OUI). Known as ‘Melanie’s Law’ it also launched the Interlock Ignition Device program (IID). Under the law, multiple offenders are forced to install an IID in their vehicle for a certain time frame.

IID Program and Hardship License

The Ignition Interlock Department of Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) manages the IID program. Under Melanie’s Law, an IID must be installed if a driver has a conditional hardship driver’s license. Also, driver’s licenses that have been reinstated are eligible for reinstatement after completion of the OUI license revocation or suspension period.

A driver who meets the necessary requirements for a hardship license on an OUI offense can obtain a conditional twelve hours per day hardship license, but it must have the HT license restriction.

Drivers with an HT or T license restriction can only operate a motor vehicle that has been equipped with an IID. The HT or T stands for what is referred to as the “Zero-Tolerance Policy” which means there is zero-tolerance for drunk driving. It also helps law enforcement know who is required to operate an IID.

An IID must remain installed in the vehicle during the entire term of the driver’s conditional hardship license period plus an additional 2 years after the reinstatement of the driver’s full operating privileges.

Who Has to have an IID Installed?

Any multiple offenders (someone with two or more convictions for OUI) must have an IID installed on their vehicle if they wish to drive to and from work, etc. The person must have the IID installed for the full length of the court order with a minimum amount of time of 2 years. If the person drives an employer’s vehicle it also must have an ignition interlock device installed.

Anyone who has an IID installed with a conditional hardship license must have the device for the OUI license suspension time frame and an additional two years after they achieve reinstatement of their full operating privileges.

Also, the restriction will not be automatically removed once the period has ended. A driver must contact and apply at the RMV’s Ignition Interlock Department to plan to have the IID removed and their license restriction nullified.

Penalties For Allowing a Person with an IID Restriction to Operate Your Vehicle

All licensed residents living in a household with a driver who is required to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed must complete an affidavit and submit it to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. The affidavit shows that they acknowledge it’s a criminal offense to let that person drive their vehicle if no device is present.

The penalties for this offense are severe. Bring charged for the first time you face:

  • One year in jail
  • One-year license suspension
  • One-year revocation of all motor vehicle registrations
  • $500 fine

If you are charged a second time you face:

  • Two and a half years in jail
  • One-year license loss
  • One-year revocation of all motor vehicle registrations
  • $1000 fine

Some people unknowingly let a family member or friend with an IID restriction drive their vehicle because they simply are unaware of the restriction. If that is the case, then it is important that you seek the services of a qualified criminal defense attorney to fight the charges. If an attorney can prove that you did not know about the restriction or that you did not know the person borrowed your car you cannot be charged.

At Oberhauser Law, we can help you. Please contact our law office today to discuss your case. We are here to answer all of your questions and work with you.



Attorney Gregory Oberhauser

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Gregory Oberhauser is the ONLY attorney in Massachusetts to be distinguished as an ACS-CHAL Forensic Lawyer-Scientist by the American Chemical Society!

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