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What is an ignition interlock device?

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | DUI Charges

If you have been convicted of drunk driving in Pennsylvania, the penalties you will face depend on the exact circumstances of your case. These penalties get more severe with certain aggravating factors

For instance, a first-time offender with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of under 0.10% may face six months of probation and a fine of $300. However, if you’re a first-time offender with a BAC of 0.10-0.159%, you will be imprisoned for a minimum of 48 hours and face fines of up to $5000.

There are also other penalties that — although they may be a form of punishment — are largely oriented toward public safety. For instance, you likely will be ordered to attend a traffic safety class. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may also be ordered to have an ignition interlock device installed on your car.

This may be mandatory for certain offenses before you can have your driving privileges partially restored.

A breath test in your car

When you have an ignition interlock system installed in your car, you must breathe into a device to measure your BAC before you can start your vehicle. If your BAC registers over a predetermined level (which may be 0.02% or even lower) the interlock system prevents you from starting the car.

Proponents of these systems say they reduce repeat offenses by close to 70%. Proponents also say that states that have ignition interlock laws see fewer drunk driving crash fatalities than states that don’t have these laws.

For the drivers involved, however, these devices are not always welcome. For one thing, they can present an inconvenience every time you want to start your car. It’s also possible that a breath test result could be inaccurate and prevent you from driving your vehicle when you need it. And, perhaps the biggest downside of these devices is that the installation can be expensive. Typically, the driver is the one who must pay for it.