Massachusetts OUI offenders who are convicted of their second offense are mandated to have breath test ignition devices installed in their vehicles. There are only fifteen states that require all convicted drink drivers, including first time offenders to use these devices. Massachusetts OUI law and some other states have laws that only mandate these devices after a second DUI offense. The ignition interlock prevents a driver from starting the engine if his/her blood alcohol exceeds a preset limit. The goal of this device is to protect both the public and the driver from continued unlawful operation of a motor vehicle.
Congress has been putting more effort into getting more states to require convicted drunk drivers to test their breath for alcohol before getting behind a steering wheel. A House transportation bill that was just proposed would offer additional highway funds to states that require ignition interlock devices for DUI offenders.
Melanie's Law was signed into law on October 28, 2005. Its purpose is to enhance the
penalties and administrative sanctions for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) offenders in Massachusetts. According to this law, any driver with a second or subsequent OUI who is eligible for a hardship license or for license reinstatement will be
required to have an Ignition Interlock Device attached to any vehicle the driver owns, leases, or operates (including an employer's vehicle) at the driver's expense.
A driver with a hardship license must use the device for the entire life of the hardship license and for two additional years after the license has been reinstated.
If a driver with two or more OUI offenses is eligible for license reinstatement, the Ignition
Interlock Device will be required for two years.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Los Angeles County and other California counties have installed these ignition devices for DUI offenders and is running a pilot study now through 2016. There is an on going national debate as to whether or not this breath test ignition devices are effective. The idea of requiring the devices for all drunk drivers nation wide is opposed by the American Beverage Institute. They feel that the use of the interlocks would "deny judges the ability to distinguish between a driver one sip over the limit and high -BAC repeat offenders." Many argue that dangling money in front of these financially strapped states to nudge them into requiring these devices is not justifiable.
Breathalyzer evidence is one piece of evidence; if you failed a breathalyzer test, call Massachusetts DUI Attorney Michael DelSignore to discuss your case. He can explain the process and the challenges to the test results that may result in an acquittal on your drunk driving charge.
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