Ignition Interlock – Question & Answer

I was arrested twice for a dui within a few months of each other a couple years ago. My lawyer was able to get them to do a CWOF and treat it as a first offense. I am now just trying to get my license and when I went to the RMV they told me that I needed an interlock device. The RMV explicitly states that in order to have an interlock device you must have “two convictions of a dui”. I do not believe I should have to get this device because neither of my DUI’s were convictions they were CWOF. I researched it a bit an in accordance with Souza v Registrar of Motor Vehicles the Registry cannot use a CWOF as a conviction. That being said I would have zero convictions and should not need this device. Do I have a case against the RMV?

The Answer:

No. You’re ignition interlock required. G.L. c. 90 § 24 ½ requires all repeat DUI offenders who are reinstating after January 1, 2006 to use a certified ignition interlock device during the entire term of any hardship license and for 2 years after getting the “H” restriction removed and a full reinstatement of your driver’s license. A CWOF is considered a conviction for IID purposes.

The Driver Control Unit of the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal both take a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to ignition interlock requirements.

Ignition Interlock Device Requirements in Massachusetts

Melanie’s Law requires a driver whose license was suspended due to a drug or alcohol program assignment or an OUI conviction to install an IID if his driving history included a prior assignment or conviction at the time he or she applied for reinstatement. When someone who has had his driver’s license suspended for an OUI conviction, or an assignment to an alcohol education program, applies for a new license or to have his license or right to operate restored, and he has had a previous OUI conviction or assignment, the new or restored license may only be issued upon the condition that the driver have an ignition interlock device installed on every motor vehicle he owns, operates or leases for a period of two years. This requirement, contained in amendments to the OUI laws and enacted as part of “Melanie’s Law,” was made effective on January 1, 2006. As long as the event triggering the imposition of the IID requirement, that is, the application for a new or reinstated license, takes place after January 1, 2006, then Melanie’s Law applies prospectively and can permissibly take into account events occurring prior to its effective date, i.e., the previous convictions, assignments, and suspensions.

Melanie’s law conditions reinstatement of a driver’s upon the driver satisfying the procedures and agreements attendant upon installation of the IID. Drivers may also have to take written and road tests, depending on the length of the DUI license suspension or revocation. The driver’s license suspension continues to operate and is not lifted until the OUI offender performs all of the required actions to lift the suspension, including ignition interlock device installation for second or subsequent drunk driving offenders.