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Pennsylvania’s Ignition Interlock Device Rules

After finding that alcohol was a major factor in wrong-way driving crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board recently recommended that states require ignition interlock devices (IIDs) to be installed on cars driven by anyone convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), even first-time offenders. Currently, PA law only requires an IID to be installed after a second offense.

What is an ignition interlock device?

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer mounted on the dashboard of a car or other vehicle. It measures a driver’s blood alcohol content before allowing the engine to be started. The IID also conducts a rolling retest that requires the driver to exhale into the tube at random intervals during vehicle operation.

What vehicles must have an IID?

If you have an ignition interlock license, any vehicle that you own, operate or lease must be fitted with an IID. Any other driver of the vehicle will also have to breathe into the IID to operate the vehicle. If you are required to operate a vehicle for employment purposes you may be eligible for an exemption.

How long do I need to keep the IID?

Generally, the obligation is for one year. After the one year, you can apply for an unrestricted license.

Who pays for the IID?

The driver who is required to install the IID pays for it, not the state. The limited license costs less than $20 but the cost of the IID is close to $1,000 per vehicle. It is possible to get a hardship exemption that allows you to install the IID on only one of your vehicles.

What can happen if I have an IID and still get a DUI?

If you have an IID installed and still get charged with a DUI you may have to pay fines or serve jail time, retain the IID for another year, or have your license suspended, depending on the circumstances.

It is important to have a good lawyer anytime you have been charged with a DUI. An experienced lawyer can help you fight the charges and try to get them dismissed and can help guide you through the ignition interlock process.

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