As of October 2018, Pennsylvania has an Ignition Interlock Limited Driver License Program which allows persons convicted of drunk driving (DUI) in the Commonwealth to obtain limited licenses to maintain employment and other family obligations despite a drunk driving conviction.
Mandatory Drivers’ License Suspension & Drunk Driving in Pennsylvania
Prior to this program, if you were convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania and your blood alcohol level was above .10 under Section 3802(b) or the highest rate under Section 3802(c) (.16) you faced the mandatory minimum twelve (12) months license suspension for a first offense. In addition, if you were convicted under 3802a1 with accident or 3802(d) (drugs), you again, face a twelve (12) month license suspension. For second offenses, the license suspension was eighteen (18) months under Section 3802(d) and eighteen (18) months for a third or subsequent offense under section 3802(b).
Ignition Interlock Limited License Program
Now, under this new program, however, persons who are convicted under 3802(b) (high rate of alcohol) or 3802(c) (highest rate-.16) along with 3802(d) are now immediately eligible for Pennsylvania’s Ignition Interlock program.
Second time offenders are eligible for the Ignition Interlock six (6) months after a suspension and third offense offenders are eligible for the Interlock device after nine (9) months.
Following the Birchfield v. North Dakota case, there was no longer a criminal penalty associated with refusing a breathalyzer, but Pennsylvania through PennDOT can still administratively suspend a license if a person refuses the chemical test (blood or breathalyzer) under 1543(b) (1.1). This is an administrative action and not a criminal action and therefore PennDOT does not need a conviction to institute the suspension. If a person refuses a breathalyzer, they are not eligible for Ignition Interlock immediately and must serve a six (6) month suspension before applying for the device. This is a why our law firm encourages people to take the breathalyzer test upon an arrest for a DUI. Even though the breathalyzer or blood test could reveal incriminating information, refusing the breathalyzer will subject you to additional criminal administrative penalties.
What does the Ignition Interlock Program Cost?
The Ignition Interlock program is not free and will cost approximately $1,500 – $2,000 per year to take part within it. In addition, the device can only be installed on one vehicle. If a person wishes to use two or more vehicles, he or she will incur the additional charge per vehicle ($1,500 – $2,000). These are estimated costs, but they are strong approximates.
How to apply for the Ignition Interlock Program
The Ignition Interlock program is not automatic, and a person must make application to PennDOT using a DL-9108 form. This form requests information regarding the vehicle, insurance information. A person that does not have car insurance is not eligible for the program and therefore must either maintain their own insurance or be a driver on another person’s policy.
The Ignition Interlock program is a program which allows individuals to maintain employment, but it is important that a person not attempt to do anything to manipulate the device, or it could result in forfeiture of that privilege.
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