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When is an ignition interlock required?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2022 | Criminal Defense

A DUI conviction can seriously disrupt many things in your life and carries major penalties. In addition to the high fines, loss of driving privileges and potential jail time, you may be required to use an ignition interlock device, which is a device installed in your vehicle that you must blow into each time you want to drive your vehicle.

If the ignition interlock device registers alcohol on your breath, it will prevent your vehicle from starting. Additionally, while you are driving your vehicle, the ignition interlock device may stop your vehicle and require you to blow into it again at various times throughout your drive, to make sure you have not consumed alcohol.

High alcohol levels or refusing a chemical test

The use of an ignition interlock is not required for all DUI convictions but is in certain circumstances. Under Pennsylvania law, an ignition interlock is a mandatory penalty if you are a first-time or repeat offender with a high blood alcohol level or if you refuse a chemical test when you are pulled over for a DUI.

An ignition interlock is not required if you are a first-time offender without a high blood alcohol level or if you participate an in accelerated rehabilitative disposition program. You are considered a repeat offender if your prior conviction occurred within the last 10 years of the current offense or if you are sentenced for 2 offenses on the same day.

How long must I use the ignition interlock?

An ignition interlock must be on your vehicle for 1 year after your driving privileges are restored. It is important to follow all requirements, since if you are found to have tampered with the device or are caught driving without the device, you will potentially be required to use it for 1 more year.

Ignition interlock devices are not perfect and can malfunction like any other device. There are also potential defenses available to a DUI charge that can result in dismissed or reduced penalties. It is worth it to explore all potential options, to avoid harsh penalties like an ignition interlock requirement.