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When is an ignition interlock device required in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, a law known as the Ignition Interlock Law was enacted in hopes of reducing the number of repeat drunk driving offenses. An ignition interlock device is a machine that can be mounted on an automobile’s steering column. The machine is designed to stop a person from being able to operate the automobile if they are drunk. The driver is required to blow into the ignition interlock device to start the car. If the device picks up the presence of alcohol, the automobile will not start.

Per the Ignition Interlock Law, if it is a person’s second or subsequent DUI conviction, that person may be ordered to install an ignition interlock system of every vehicle they lease, operate or own. The ignition interlock period will begin only after their license to drive has been suspended for a minimum of 12 months.

Those who were convicted of driving under the influence on or after October 1, 2003 must abide by the Ignition Interlock law. Furthermore, if a person’s second or subsequent drunk driving offense took place before June 30, 2007, then they will be required to have an ignition interlock device based on any prior drunk driving offenses. However, if a person’s second or subsequent drunk driving offense took place on or after June 30, 2007, then the courts will only consider prior drunk driving offenses that took place within the past 10 years when determining when an ignition interlock device is required.

It may go without saying that having an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle is an unwelcome situation for most Pennsylvania drivers. After all, it is certainly possible for a driver to have a blood alcohol content level under the legal limit of 0.08 percent, even if they only had one drink, such as a glass of wine with dinner. Therefore, those who are facing the possibility of having an ignition interlock device placed on their vehicle may want to seek the advice of a DUI defense attorney so that their rights are protected.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, “Ignition Interlock ‘The Law’ Frequently Asked Questions,” accessed on April 10, 2017


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