RMV Requires Ignition Interlock Device

ignition interlock deviceIf the Registry of Motor Vehicles suspended your driver’s license or right to operate for Operating Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol, and you have a prior DUI conviction, regardless or when or where it occurred, you will be required to use an ignition interlock device while you are on a hardship license and for a minimum of 2 years after getting the hardship hours removed from your license. The Registry makes no exceptions when it comes to the ignition interlock device (IID) requirement, which is mandated for all repeat DUI offenders. Your license will be IID restricted even if the court treated you as a first offender or you were given a “Cahill” or “Second Chance, First Offender” disposition.

The initial lease fee for the IID is approximately $200.00 and you must pay a $100.00 monthly monitoring fee. These fees are mandatory and there are no waivers for those who are indigent.

All states now have some form of an ignition interlock program. In some states, such as New York, the IID is required even for first offenders. In Massachusetts, it is required for those with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th offenses. Those with 5DUI offenses will have their licenses revoked for life, with no ability to apply for a hardship or work license.

If you are a repeat DUI offender and have been cleared for either hardship relief or a full license reinstatement, you must have the IID installed by a certified vendor. Once the IID is installed, you need to bring proof of installation to a Registry Hearings Officer in order to reinstate your license. You will have to sign a package of forms which explain the Registry’s IID program and the rules which you must obey to avoid the loss of your license. You must sign this package in the presence of a Notary Public and it must be notarized. Any license driver who lives with you must also sign paperwork stating that he or she knows that your license is IID restricted.

In most cases, you will be required to take a written and road test to get your license reinstated. If you are required to re-test, you must have the IID installed prior to taking the road test. You will take the test in the IID equipped vehicle.

If you commit an ignition interlock violation by missing rolling re-tests, failing rolling re-tests, failing to have the device downloaded as required, or tampering with, disconnecting, or circumventing the IID, your license will be revoked for 10 years or life. Also, operating a vehicle without the IID during your restriction period will result in a 10 year license revocation, regardless of whether or not you were charged criminally or convicted.

Proposed Bill would Eliminate Drug Suspensions

In accordance with G.L. c. 90, §22(f), the Mass. Registry of Motor Vehicles suspends the driver’s licenses of those who have been convicted of drug offenses, irrespective of whether the crime involved a motor vehicle. Every year the Registry imposes approximately 7,000 drug suspensions, ranging from 1 to 5 years in length.  Massachusetts is one of 17 states in the U.S. where drug convictions will trigger mandatory license revocations.

There is currently legislation pending, at the Massachusetts Statehouse, which would terminate the longstanding practice of imposing automatic license suspensions for drug convictions. The Bill was filed in January of last year and it may be enacted in the near future. The Massachusetts Senate passed the Bill in May of this year.

The basis for the legislation is that having a suspended license, and a history of drug convictions, may hamper recovery efforts. The lack of a license makes it difficult for convicted drug offenders to find legitimate work. If the legislation passes, drug convictions would not appear on driving records and they would not trigger license suspensions. The Bill would also save convicted drug offenders from having to pay the $500.00 reinstatement fee which the Registry charges when someone reinstates from a drug related suspension.

Unless and until the legislation is enacted, if you lost your driver’s license due to a drug conviction, you can be considered for a hardship license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles or Board of Appeal. Where you go depends on your record. Those with multiple drug offenses must go to the Appeals Board. Clean urine screens and a substance abuse evaluation are critical.