Will I Have to Get an Ignition Interlock for a DUI in Pennsylvania?

Information on the Ignition Interlock Device Installation Requirement in the Quaker State of PA

Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Erie, Allentown, Scranton, Wilkes Barre, York, and all other cities in the state of Pennsylvania have the same rules and regulations when it comes to requiring the PA Ignition Interlock device for drinking and driving and DUI related charges. Any driver found to be operating a vehicle with a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more will be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Should drivers be convicted of this crime after their day in court, they face a number of penalties that include a driver’s license suspension, fines, jail time, and the possibility of having to get an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) installed in order to be able to legally drive any car in the state.

Ignition Interlock for a DUI in PennsylvaniaIn PA and every other state, they have adopted the 0.08 percent BAC threshold as grounds for charging individuals with drinking and driving related crimes. This is because of government research that proved most drivers are too impaired to operate a vehicle with a 0.05 percent BAC, and all drivers are too impaired when their BAC reaches 0.08 percent. Additionally, the state of Pennsylvania can also charge commercial drivers with DUI should their BAC be 0.04 percent or more and minors with a BAC of 0.02 percent or more. The most common new penalty for even a 1st time offense for a DUI charge in Pennsylvania, is having a suspended license and requiring the installation of the Ignition Interlock device as a condition to get a PA driver’s license back.

What Are the Penalties for Driving Under the Influence in Pennsylvania?

As mentioned, there are a number of penalties convicted DUI offenders face – these penalties are meant to discourage individuals from drinking and driving again while also serving as an example to others. First time DUI offenders, or those with no previous convictions on their record, are subject to penalties that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Suspended PA Driver’s License
  • Fine of $300
  • Ignition Interlock Device Requirement if Refused Chemical DUI Testing

Repeat offenders, or those with a previous DUI conviction on their record, face much harsher penalties. Pennsylvania is currently enforcing a 10-year lookback period, so any previous DUI conviction within the last 10 years counts against an individual’s current offense. Second time DUI offenders, or those with one previous conviction on their record in the last 10 years, are subject to penalties that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Minimum Jail Time of Five Days to Six Months
  • Fines of Between $300 and $2,500
  • Driver’s License Suspension of 12 Months
  • PA Ignition Interlock Installation Requirement During Restricted License Period

Second time DUI offenders, or those with two previous convictions on their record in the last 10 years, are subject to penalties that include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Minimum Jail Time of 10 Days to Two Years
  • Fines of Between $500 and $5,000
  • Driver’s License Suspension Length of Time Period of 12 Months
  • IID Requirement During Restricted License Period

Additionally, the state of Pennsylvania has a series of penalty tiers assigned to an offender’s blood alcohol content level percentage. These tiers include 0.08 percent, 0.10 to 0.159 percent, and 0.16 percent or higher.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device, and How Does It Work Under What the New PA DUI Laws Are?

A PA DUI Ignition Interlock is a device installed in a DUI offender’s vehicle, usually on the dashboard. This device operates much in the same way as the Breathalyzer devices used by police officers and other law enforcement officials. In order for DUI offenders to start their vehicle, they need to provide the device with a breath sample by blowing into it. Should the provided sample register above the pre-determined threshold, usually set at 0.02 percent, the IID prevents the vehicle from starting.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, the device may also require random retesting while the vehicle is in motion. When the device alerts that a retest is required, drivers must provide one – should the provided sample register above the pre-determined threshold, the Interlock device logs the event and sounds an alarm, alerting drivers the vehicle needs to be pulled over and turned off – the Interlock does not shut off the vehicle while it is in motion. With how the Interlock works under PA laws and requirements, these car Breathalyzer Interlock devices also require retesting a driver periodically while driving as a means to prevent a third party from providing the initial sample to start the vehicle.

When is Having to Install an Ignition Interlock Device Required in the State of Pennsylvania?

The state of Pennsylvania has authorized the installation and use of an Ignition Interlock for specific convicted offenders of DUI or other drinking and driving related charges. Courts can authorize the use of a car Breathalyzer Interlock as a condition of having a DUI offender’s driver’s license reinstated in the following situations:

1. DUI Interlock installation, maintenance, and use is optional for first time DUI offenders.

2. IID installation, maintenance, and use is mandatory for second and subsequent DUI offenders for a period of one year after the PA driver’s license has been reinstated.

Who Is Responsible for Paying for All Costs of an Ignition Interlock Device in PA?

In all cases where Pennsylvania DUI offenders are authorized to install an Ignition Interlock, individuals are responsible for paying all costs associated with obtaining, installing, and maintaining the IID. Offenders should be prepared to pay around $100 to have the car Breathalyzer Interlock installed in their vehicle as well as between $75 and $120 a month to lease the device. These are rough cost estimates, however, as the cost of leasing the device varies between IID providers, and some providers even offer free installation if the device is leased from them.

What Is the Process for How to Get an Ignition Interlock Device in Pennsylvania?

Once a PA DUI offender is authorized to use an Ignition Interlock device in order to be able to legally drive, they are often given a window of time in which they need to lease the device and have it installed. First, individuals need to contact a state approved IID provider for Pennsylvania – these providers can be found all across the state, and a full list of these companies can be found on the Pennsylvania DUI Association website or by calling the PA DUI Association directly. This is important to ensure the Interlock device is leased from a state approved provider.

Once the car Breathalyzer Interlock device has been leased, individuals also need to ensure it is professionally installed to the state’s standards in order for it to be valid. After the device has been obtained and professionally installed, it is not uncommon for offenders to have to report back to the court, the judge, their probation officer, and/or the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles to confirm the device is installed and operational. Often times, this report has to include a copy of the device’s lease agreement from the state approved provider as well as a copy of the receipt from having the device installed. At this time, the driver’s license is reinstated, and he or she is able to drive. We realize just how much having an Ignition Interlock can affect a person’s life, and entirely understand why one of the first concerns people have after a PA DUI arrest is “will I need to get an Ignition Interlock device put in my car?” When a Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock lawyer reviews a driver’s own arrest details online with us, they can then be able let a person know what possible defenses may be available for how to avoid having to get and install an Ignition Interlock device in:

[column col=”1/4″]Adams County
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[column col=”1/4″]Aldan
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[column col=”1/4″]Frackville
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[column col=”1/4″]Shanor-Northvue
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