In Massachusetts, accusations of impaired driving will usually result in the loss of your driver’s license. In fact, state lawmakers increased the driving-related consequences of an impaired driving charge in 2005 by passing Melanie’s Law.
Exactly how long you might lose your driving privileges for will depend on the details of the situation. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and your driving history are among the factors that most strongly influence what penalties the Massachusetts criminal courts may impose in a drunk driving case.
Often, drivers subject to the suspension of their licenses will eventually have to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs) in their vehicles to regain their driving privileges. When does Massachusetts mandate the installation of an IID in your vehicle after a drunk driving charge?
When you have prior offenses
Someone with even a single previous impaired driving conviction on their record will have to install an IID in their vehicle once they complete their suspension. Regardless of how long it has been since the last charge, a driver with a prior offense on their record will need to submit to breath testing every time they drive to prove they can consistently choose to drive sober.
In other words, when they regain their license, they will need to install an IID in their vehicle, and they can only drive a vehicle with an IID installed. The length of time it is necessary to maintain the IID in the vehicle varies depending on the number of prior offenses, but it is often a year or longer.
When you need a hardship license
Some people lose their driving privileges but then face serious challenges. Their children may depend on them for transportation to school or for healthcare appointments. They could be at risk of losing their job that allows them to support their family financially.
There are numerous scenarios in which the courts may issue a restricted or hardship license. Even first-time offenders could potentially qualify for a restricted license that allows them to drive for 12 hours each day to perform necessary tasks. However, they will have to install an IID in their vehicle for as long as there are restrictions on their driving privileges.
Educating yourself about the consequences of drunk driving allegations can help you decide the best way to respond after an arrest.