DUI Restricted License Options for Certain First Offense Cases

Pennsylvania classifies DUI license offenses into three different levels. They’re based on a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the offense.

The lowest level of impairment is known as the general impairment category when a driver’s BAC is between 0.08 and 0.10. Then, the middle-level DUI of a driver’s BAC is between 0.10 and 0.159. After that, there’s a high-level DUI when the driver’s BAC is over 0.160.

Some drivers will refuse DUI breath testing. Then, they are subject to a general impairment charge with penalties being consistent with the highest DUI level.

License Suspension

There is no mandatory loss of a driver’s license on a general impairment charge, but as opposed to several other states, a 12-month driver’s license suspension is mandatory for any alleged offense that is charged at a middle or high-level DUI.

If you are charged accordingly, a DUI attorney at State College from Engle, Kauffman, and VanHorn can help you by fighting your suspension and defending against your DUI arrest. Otherwise, there is nothing that you can do about the suspension.

The Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock Law

Since 2017, the PA ignition interlock law has made it mandatory for first DUI offenders who were found to have a middle or high-range blood alcohol concentration to equip their vehicle with an interlock device in PA before a hard license suspension lapses. For drivers who have refused breath testing, they’ll be eligible for an ignition interlock device after six months from the start of their suspension. Take notice that a special ignition interlock limited license is required.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is used for people who have a history of drinking and driving. In order to start their car, a driver with ignition interlock devices must blow into the device before starting their vehicle.

They also need to blow into it periodically during the course of operating the vehicle for purposes of ensuring that they do not consume any alcohol while driving. If a positive result is registered, the interlock device either won’t allow the vehicle to start or shuts the vehicle down. The devices have proven to be highly effective against drunk driving accidents.

Getting an Ignition Interlock Device

DUI offenders will need to lease an interlock ignition system from an approved vendor of the devices that are approved for that purpose in Pennsylvania. Only certain devices are permitted.

The cost of leasing the device averages about $1,200 per year. Note that a driver isn’t eligible for an ignition interlock limited license if the basis of their suspension is the result of an accelerated rehabilitation disposition.

The devices are not permitted to be used for purposes of operating a commercial vehicle. Any treatment that is ordered by a court need not be completed before a person is eligible for an interlock ignition limited license. That treatment must be successfully treated in order to obtain restoration of full driving privileges.

Violations and Penalties

On a conviction for a first offense, the driver is subject to possible jail time, fines, court costs, and an additional period of an interlock ignition device for up to 12 months. An ignition interlock system can be installed on any car that a person regularly drives. A person who has an ignition interlock limited driver’s license and drives a vehicle that isn’t equipped with such a device can be convicted of a criminal offense.

Ignition Interlock Program Violations

If there is a violation of a driver’s ignition interlock provisions, the device can be ordered and returned to the vendor. Any of the following might be interpreted to be a violation:

  • If the device shows a BAC of .025 three times
  • Failure to blow into the device when the vehicle is moving
  • Tampering with the device
  • Violation of any other provisions that are ordered.

A PA criminal defense attorney from Engle, Kauffman, and VanHorn could be invaluable in fighting against your driver’s license suspension after a DUI arrest. Exercise your right to a competent and qualified DUI lawyer right away after any such arrest.