It was over a year ago on May 25, 2016 that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 290 into law which has been coined by many the “ignition interlock law”. Now 15 months later this new ignition interlock limited license goes into effect on August 25, 2017. Pennsylvania has never had anything like this before as it applies to penalties for DUI offenses. Prior to this drivers had the option of applying for an Occupational Limited License (OLL) after serving a portion of their suspension. As of August 25, 2017, drivers can no longer obtain an OLL but rather will have to apply for an IILL. This is great news because as you will see below it applies to many more people. Lets look deeper into what this is all about.
WHAT IS AN IGNITION INTERLOCK
An ignition interlock is a device that a driver would install in their motor vehicle to prohibit individuals under the influence of ALCOHOL from starting the vehicle. The driver would blow a breath sample into the mouthpiece to start the vehicle. The interlock then would analyze and measure the breath for alcohol concentration. If alcohol is detected and exceeds 0.025mg the device will not allow the engine to start. This device DOES NOT detect drugs. (There are some companies working to develop a device that would also have the ability to detect drugs and not just alcohol. As of today no such technology exists and I think it will be a long time before it does)
HOW MUCH DOES THE DEVICE COST
The cost of the device in your car will depend on the individual provider that the driver chooses to install it. Currently there about 11 separate providers that can install the ignition interlock. Two counties in Pennsylvania (Allegheny and Dauphin) have there own Interlock Service that drivers are required to use. Typically the cost will range from $800-$1200 to have the devise installed. The nonrefundable application fee for the ignition interlock device will be $65.00 that must be paid to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE
- First Offense DUI Offenders
- Under this new law a driver who is convicted of a first offense DUI is IMMEDIATELY eligible and can apply upon first being convicted.
- After making application and if qualified, PENNDOT shall issue the license within 20 days of receipt of the petition if all of the requirements of issuance have been met.
- ARD-Individuals who have been accepted into the ARD program will be eligible for the Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL) on their 30, 60 or 90 day case IF they decide to have one installed (Not mandatory)
- Subsequent DUI Offenses
- Individuals who have a subsequent DUI conviction are also eligible to have the IILL how ever this IS NOT immediate.
- An individual facing a 12 month suspension they would be eligible after serving 6 months of their suspension
- An individual facing a 18 month suspension they would be eligible after serving 9 months of their suspension
- Refusal Cases
- For years an individual who refused a blood or breath test would automatically lose their operating privileges for 12 months unless they could win an a license suspension appeal with PENNDOT.
- An individual is now eligible for an IILL after serving 6 months of their 12 month suspension,
- An individual is now eligible for an IILL after serving 9 months of their 18 month suspension.
- Anyone suspended for illegally operating a motor vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock.
WHO IS NOT ELIGIBLE
- An individual who’s driving privileges have been cancelled or revoked
- An individual not licensed to drive in Pennsylvania
- A driver who holds a CDL cannot use a IILL to operate a commercial vehicle
- Any individual whose operating privilege has been suspended under section 1532 (a.1), relating to driving under suspension is not eligible.
- An individual who who violates section 3732 (homicide by vehicle) and section 3735 (Homicide by Vehicle while DUI) are not eligible.
In general this seems to be good change that will allow more people to start driving again. How efficiently PENNDOT will be in rolling this out will be a huge factor to look for in the next few months. It is also important to understand that although a driver installs this device in their vehicle they are still considered to be SUSPENDED and when operating their motor vehicle in a way inconsistent with the provision they can be charged accordingly. Like anything, it will take time for everyone to get use to these big changes as well as the process that PENNDOT wants us to follow with the application process. If anything, drivers now will have more options that in the past they never had.
Hiring the right attorney can make all of the difference in the world, even if your case seems straightforward or you have no criminal record. With all of these new changes it is important to have someone on your side that understands the law and how it applies specifically to your case. If you find yourself arrested for a DUI, make sure you have a capable attorney on your side. Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney Zachary B. Cooper will be aggressive and can fight to make sure that your rights are protected so that your family and you can move on with your lives. Call (215) 542-0800 for a free consultation to discuss the legal options that may be available to you.