Interlock Ignition Device (IID)- Massachusetts

Under Melanie’s Law, passed in 2005, if you have two or more OUI convictions, you will need to have an interlock ignition device (IID) installed in your car before you can ever drive again in Massachusetts. The IID must be installed & used in every vehicle that you own, lease, or operate (including your employer’s vehicle). A restriction will be added to your license making it illegal to operate a vehicle that does not have an IID.

This law applies to people who have, or are seeking, a hardship license or license reinstatement after a 2nd or subsequent conviction for Operating Under the Influence. The Registry of Motor Vehicles is interpreting this law in the harshest way. People convicted of a 2nd or subsequent offense even BEFORE THIS LAW WAS PASSED are now subject to the IID requirement. There is also an unlimited “look-back” period, meaning your OUI convictions could have occurred thirty or forty years ago, and you will still fall subject to the IID laws. Your convictions may even be from out of state- but if the Registry knows about them, you will be subject to the IID requirement. Although this is extremely unfair, it is the harsh reality, and so far there doesn’t seem to be any way around this strict reading of the law.


An IID is a breath-monitoring device that is installed and connected to your vehicle’s ignition system. It requires the driver to provide a breath sample before the vehicle’s engine will start. If your blood alcohol content reads higher than a .02 (in most cases, less than one drink), your car will not start. Additionally, you will be required to “pass” rolling re-tests while you are driving.


  • If your IID goes into lockout more than once in a thirty day period for either failing an initial breath test or missing a rolling re-test, you may receive a 10-year license revocation.
  • If your IID goes into lockout due to a failed rolling re-test, or because the IID has been tampered with, you may receive a 10-year license revocation. You will be required to meet with an RMV hearings officer who will determine whether to revoke your license.
  • Two failed rolling re-tests, two missed IID inspections, or removal of the device before the IID restriction period is over may result in a lifetime license revocation.
  • Operating a Motor Vehicle Without a Certified Functioning Interlock Ignition Device While License has IID Restriction carries a mandatory minimum 180 day jail sentence and $1,000 fine, up to 5 years in state prison and $15,000 fine. 
  • Tampering with an IID with the intent to disable its functioning carries a mandatory minimum 6 month jail sentence, up to 5 years in state prison. 
  • Breathing into an IID for the purpose of starting the car for another operator whose license is subject to the IID restriction carries a mandatory $1,000 fine or 6 months in jail, up to $5,000 fine and 2 1/2 years in jail. A second conviction for this offense carries a mandatory minimum of 3 years in state prison, up to 5 years in state prison. 

Contact my office if you've been charged with a Massachusetts OUI or any other criminal offense. I am available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for your free initial phone consultation.

Boston DUI Defense Lawyer

Urbelis Law, LLC
98 North Washington St.
Suite 403
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: (617) 830-2188
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