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All Press Releases for January 31, 2014 »
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Massachusetts senator pushes ignition interlock law for DUI offenses

A bill under consideration may make installation of an ignition interlock device mandatory with a first DUI offense.
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    January 31, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Senator Robert Hedlund of Massachusetts authored a bill that would require installation of ignition interlock devices for anyone convicted of a DUI/DWI or OUI violation. The Senator's page notes that over 16,000 people are arrested for driving with blood alcohol content over the state limit of 0.08 every year in Massachusetts.

Senator Hedlund's bill would require first-time offenders install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a minimum of six months. Currently, it appears the bill is stalled in the Senate after accompanying a study to determine if the increased use of ignition interlock devices would be advantageous.

Ignition interlock basics and Melanie's Law

Massachusetts instituted an ignition interlock program in 2006 under Melanie's Law. The law requires those who receive multiple convictions to install the device on their vehicle. The device is a handheld monitoring device that is connected electronically to the vehicle's ignition. Before the vehicle will start, the driver must provide a breath sample. If the breath sample indicates that the driver's blood alcohol content is less than 0.02 the vehicle will start. If not, the vehicle will not start.

Once the vehicle starts, the driver will be require to take rolling retests. These tests are requested at random while the vehicle is in motion. A beeping sound will notify the driver when a test is required. The driver can choose to either pull over to the side of the road to provide a sample or provide the sample while the vehicle is still in motion.

If a driver is required to have an ignition interlock device, he or she is responsible for the installation, payment, maintenance fees and proper use of the device. If these obligations are not met the individual may not be allowed to drive.

What drivers can learn from this bill

Although current law does not generally require use of these devices after a first offense, the present bill under consideration provides a reminder that the law can change. These changes can lead to additional penalties accompanying an already harsh set of consequences.

Even a first offense can lead to serious penalties. Some criminal penalties that can apply include:
- Up to $5,000 fine
- License suspension of one year
- Up to 30 months imprisonment

Those charged with a drunk driving crime should note that defenses are available that can lead to a reduction or even dismissal of charges. As a result, if you are charged with a DUI/DWI or OUI crime it is important to contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer to better ensure your legal rights are protected.

Article provided by Milligan Coughlin LLC
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