Ignition Interlock in MA Melanie’s Law

ignition interlock device in ma
Anyone who has 2 or more OUI convictions in Massachusetts must install an ignition interlock device on their car before they are able to reinstate their license or receive a hardship license. This is known as Melanie’s Law.

Even worse–it doesn’t matter how long ago your DUI convictions were. The Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in Massachusetts has chosen to apply Melanie’s Law to OUI convictions that occurred before October 2005 when the law was passed.

Additionally, the RMV is moving towards a policy of issuing hardship licenses only to persons who can prove they can’t reach their desired destination by public transportation.

Melanie’s Law was signed into law on October 28, 2005. Its purpose is to enhance the penalties and administrative sanctions for OUI (Operating Under the Influence) offenders in Massachusetts. Click here to download the Massachusetts-Melanie’s-Law.pdf which explains the new penalties under the law and those sections that pertain to RMV suspensions.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is similar to a breathalyzer that attaches to your car. In order to start the car, you must first blow into the device. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) measures .02% or less, the car will start. If your BAC exceeds .02%, the car will not start.

Once you start your car and begin driving, you may be required to occasionally blow into the IID. If your BAC is measured in excess of .02% while you are driving, you horn will sound and your lights will flash. Additionally, a “FAIL” will be recorded.

Every 30 days you are required to return to the vendor who installed your IID to gather all test results. If you record 2 or more failures or lockouts, you will face severe consequences, including a 10 year suspension of your license.

Should the device prevent you from driving, you have 48 hours to notify the vendor. Your vendor will then record the data and reset the device. Failure to do so will require towing your car to the vendor at your own expense.

Ignition interlock devices cost money—your money. The cost of installing an IID is $200. The monthly maintenance fee is $85. In addition, IIDs do not work on motorcycles.

Who must Install an Ignition Interlock Device?

As mentioned above anyone who has 2 or more OUI convictions in Massachusetts must install an ignition interlock device.

Additionally persons who qualify for a hardship license must install an ignition interlock device for the duration of their occupational license. If their license is reinstated after the expiration of their hardship license, they must still drive with an IID for two years thereafter.

Once you are allowed to drive without an IID, you must meet with a Hearings Officer to obtain a letter that allows the device to be removed. This letter must then be presented to the vendor who installed your ignition interlock device—before you can have your IID removed.

I Didn’t Drink Anything but the IID Registered a “FAIL”

Ignition interlock devices are not perfect. False positives occur all the time due to simple daily wear and tear. Additionally, if you used mouthwash or had a very small amount of alcohol, the IID might also register a false-positive.

As a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney that has tried numerous OUI cases, Greg Oberhauser understands what to look for when challenging an IID false-positive reading. When necessary, he will consult with forensic specialists who can explain how false-positives occur and what circumstances in your case led to a false-positive reading.

Contact Criminal Defense Attorney Greg Oberhauser Today

A DUI / OUI conviction is a serious matter that can affect your driving privileges, insurance costs, and freedom.

If you already have a DUI / OUI first offense and this is a subsequent offense, call Attorney Oberhauser today to schedule a free consultation. He will evaluate your case and determine if you are eligible for a hardship license and the installation of an ignition interlock device.