Some First Time Offenders Now Required to Use Ignition Interlock Device in Pennsylvania
States are implementing more strategies to address the issue of drunk driving, which include different kinds of penalties. In 2016, Pennsylvania enacted Senate Bill 290, which will require all Pennsylvania residents who are repeat DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicles. It also requires certain first-time offenders with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of higher than 0.10 percent to have interlock devices installed on their vehicles for a year. The law takes effect in August 2017.
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI in the Pittsburgh area, you need an experienced Pittsburgh, PA DUI attorney who will advocate for your rights and help you get the most favorable outcome possible. Contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC right away for assistance.
Call us today at (412) 281-2146.
Ignition Interlock Devices and DUIs
An IID is an electronic system that is installed on a motor vehicle to prevent drunk driving. The system requires drivers to blow into the device, which is essentially a breathalyzer, before turning on the car ignition. If the system detects alcohol at high enough levels, it will prevent the car from starting. Additionally, the system will prompt the driver periodically to blow into the device and have their BAC analyzed to prevent consumption of alcohol while driving.
Pennsylvania enacted the Ignition Interlock Law with the goal of improving safety on state highways, discourage repeat DUI offenses, and ultimately reduce fatalities and accidents caused by DUI. Under the new law, an offender convicted of a second or succeeding DUI offense must install an IID on each vehicle they operate for a full year. If the offender has an income below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, that person may be eligible for an exemption permitting for the device to be installed in just one car instead of all vehicles.
The new law requires repeat offenders to serve at least a year of their driver’s license suspension before becoming eligible for an IID to be able to drive again. Convicted DUI offenders will bear the costs of installing an approved interlock device, which may cost over a thousand dollars to install. They have to prove to the state that the device was installed and pay an administrative fee to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
First-time Offenders and IIDs
Additionally, the new law may apply to first-time offenders. It provides that offenders convicted of their first DUI with a BAC that is higher than 0.10 percent may have the option of getting provisional licenses after serving six months of a 12-month license suspension if they use interlock devices for one year. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, the new law allows the state to focus on rehabilitation instead of punishment for DUI offenses. It also allows offenders to continue working and to fulfill other familial obligations.
The state will issue a unique driver’s license for convicted offenders required to have an ignition interlock device. If that offender is stopped by police, they will have to show the special license and then prove that the vehicle is equipped with the interlock device. Driving a vehicle that does not have the device may result in penalties that include extending the period in which the interlock device is required for another year. For a succeeding offense, a conviction may result in an additional year of driver’s license suspension.
You should talk to a Pittsburgh DUI attorney immediately if you’ve been charged with DUI. You need an experienced lawyer to help you make informed decisions about your case.
Contact our Pittsburgh DUI attorneys at (412) 281-2146 for a free initial consultation today.