The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles requires interlock use certain DUI offenders during the term of any hardship license and for at least 2 years after the issuance of a full-time license. The RMV imposes substantial penalties for ignition interlock violations. Under G.L. c. 90 § 24 ½, and the Registry’s Ignition Interlock Device Regulations, the Registry is authorized to impose 10 year and lifetime license revocations for violations. Also, interlock users must have 6 months of no violations or infractions in order to get the device removed, even if the user has served all of his or her required interlock time.
Whenever an alcohol reading occurs you should thoroughly document all of the facts and circumstances. You can take steps to protect yourself from a license revocation by going to a police station and asking for a portable breath test. You can also contact your Ignition Interlock Service Provider to document the false alcohol reading.
When a lockout occurs, the Registry presumes that the lockout was caused by the IID program participant and you must present evidence to overcome this presumption. You can have others operate your IID-equipped vehicle. However, the RMV will presumptively hold you responsible for any lockouts and/or alcohol readings. The burden of proof will be on you to convince the Registry that someone else was operating the vehicle at the time of the lockout and/or alcohol readings.
You can contest a lockout or false alcohol reading by personally appearing before a Registry Hearing Officer. To contest a lockout, you must appear within 30 days of the lockout. If you fail to properly contest a lockout within 30 days by going before a RMV Hearing Officer, the Registry may consider the lockout valid and hold it against you when assessing penalties. Therefore, the best way to protect yourself is to be proactive and go in for a hearing if you experience an unjustified lockout of your ignition interlock device.
Contesting invalid IID lockouts within the required 30 day period is one of the best ways that you can avoid a 10 year or lifetime loss of your driver’s license. If the Registry finds that you have committed an IID violation, your license will be revoked for any hardship license period plus an additional 10 years.