Everything you need to know about ignition interlock devices

If you are convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense in Pennsylvania, you will face multiple consequences. Among the penalties will be a suspension of your driver’s license for 12 to 18 months. Anyone who has been convicted of two or more DUIs are required to install ignition interlock devices in every vehicle that they drive. These devices have to be installed in all of your vehicles before you will be allowed to apply to restore your license. If you do not comply with this law, you can face serious penalties. Drivers who are caught driving vehicles without ignition interlock devices when they are required to have them may face stiff fines, jail, and an additional suspension of their licenses. At DiCindio Law, we can help you to understand your obligations so that you do not violate your ignition interlock device requirements. We are also prepared to defend you against DUI charges and violations of the ignition interlock device laws.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Ignition interlock devices are electronic instruments that are designed to keep you from starting your vehicle when you have alcohol on your breath. Under Pennsylvania law, judges can order you to install an ignition interlock device in every car that you drive when you have been convicted of two or more drunk driving offenses. If you were convicted of the highest BAC DUI offense, you will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicles. Finally, if you refused a breath, blood, or urine test after you were arrested for a suspected DUI, you will also be required to install an ignition interlock device in Pennsylvania.

How do ignition interlock devices work?

Ignition interlock devices are wired into your vehicles’ ignitions. When you try to start one of your cars, you will have to blow into the tube of the ignition interlock device. The device will then detect whether there is alcohol on your breath. If alcohol is present, you won’t be able to start your vehicle. Most ignition interlock devices have lock-out periods that will prevent you from starting your car if your breath contains more than the threshold amount of alcohol. Typically, the lock-out period will last for longer periods with each failed breath test.

If you pass the initial breath test on the ignition interlock device, you will be able to start your car and drive. However, ignition interlock devices will conduct rolling retests. These are random times while you are driving that you will be signaled to provide another breath test within a set amount of time. You are expected to pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot to breathe into the tube again. If you do not do so, your horn might begin honking or an alarm might go off to prompt you to turn your car off. The device will not turn your moving car off if you fail a retest for safety reasons. However, it might save the information about your failed retest and submit it electronically to the provider. This can result in you being charged with a violation of the ignition interlock device laws in Pennsylvania.

What are the requirements in Pennsylvania for ignition interlock devices?

If you have been ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicles, you are required to do so. You should not drive someone else’s car that does not have an ignition interlock device installed. Your device will not allow your vehicle to start if it detects that you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% or higher. At random times while you are driving, you will be required to submit additional breath samples as was described above. If you blow above 0.02% during a rolling test, the device will shut your vehicle’s engine off and prevent you from restarting your car during the lock-out period. If you do not respond to a signal to complete a rolling retest, the device will record your violation but will not shut your moving vehicle off because of safety issues.

An ignition interlock device works in a similar way to a breathalyzer machine. The breathalyzer machine is the device that police officers use to measure your BAC at the police station following a DUI arrest.

The law requires you to install ignition interlock devices in every vehicle that you own or lease. You must also apply for a restricted license and cannot drive other vehicles that do not have ignition interlock devices installed. You will not be eligible for an unrestricted license or to have the ignition interlock device removed from your car until you have driven with the device for one year.

The state has only approved specific companies to install ignition interlock devices that have been court-ordered. The companies that have been approved to install ignition interlock devices that have been court-ordered in southeastern Pennsylvania include the following:

  • Draeger
  • Guardian
  • Intoxalock
  • Smart Start

If you are ordered by the court to install an ignition interlock device, you will use one of these companies for the installation and monitoring.

Who is required to have an ignition interlock device installed?

In Pennsylvania, the following people are required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles:

  • First-time DUI offenders with high BACs
  • People who refuse breath, blood, or urine tests following a DUI arrest
  • People who are convicted of two or more DUIs
  • People who are convicted of illegally operating vehicles without ignition interlock devices

These devices are mandated when the state believes that you have not shown that you can drive a vehicle free from alcohol.

Can you drive after asking someone else to blow into the ignition interlock device?

While it is possible to start your vehicle after having someone else blow into your ignition interlock device, do not do so. It can lead to charges. Most of these devices require voice commands before they will begin working. The devices identify you by the sound of your voice, and your commands are difficult for others to copy. If you fail a rolling retest or ignore a prompt for one, your failure will be recorded and reported to the court. This could result in more charges and additional penalties. If you have been ordered to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, do not drink before you get behind the wheel.

What happens if you fail the breath test on the ignition interlock device?

Ignition interlock devices are designed to alert the police if you fail to pass a breath test. If you fail, your car’s horn, brakes, and lights may sound to draw attention from the police. Even if the police do not respond, trying to trick your ignition interlock device can be very embarrassing.

Who is responsible for paying for an ignition interlock device?

If you are ordered to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicles, you will have to pay for it. The total cost of the device will depend on the company that you choose to install it from the list of approved providers. You will have to pay for both the device’s installation and its maintenance. Ignition interlock devices are not cheap. You can expect to pay around $1,000 to $1,200 for the installation of your device.

Exemptions to the requirements for ignition interlock devices in Pennsylvania

There are a few, very limited exemptions available to certain drivers who have been required to install ignition interlock devices. If installing ignition interlock devices on every vehicle that you own or lease would place a substantial and undue financial hardship on you, you can apply for a financial hardship exemption. For example, if you have three vehicles in your name, a financial hardship exemption might allow you to install an ignition interlock device on only one vehicle instead of all three. However, you would not be allowed to drive the other two vehicles that are in your name, and you will likewise be forbidden from driving any vehicles that are in other people’s names that do not have ignition interlock devices installed.

Another potential exemption is the employment exemption. This exemption is limited to drivers who must drive vehicles that are owned by their employers during the course and scope of their jobs. To apply for this exemption, you must notify your employer of your ignition interlock device restriction and keep a notarized copy of the notification of your employer. If you are self-employed and drive a vehicle that you own as a part of your job, you will not be eligible for the employment exemption for the ignition interlock device restriction on your vehicle. This exemption is also not available for you if you drive a school vehicle or a vehicle to carry a large number of passengers for your job.

Violations of the ignition interlock device requirements in Pennsylvania

If you violate the ignition interlock device requirements in Pennsylvania, you will face serious penalties. The different types of violations and their penalties include the following:
Driving a car without an ignition interlock device – Jail for up to 90 days, Fine from $300 to $1,000, and an ungraded misdemeanor conviction on your record
Driving a car without an ignition interlock device when your BAC is greater than 0.025% – Minimum of 90 days in jail, $1,000 fine, and a third-degree misdemeanor on your record
Tampering with an ignition interlock device – Jail for up to 90 days, fine of $300 to $1,000, and an ungraded misdemeanor on your record

Tampering with an ignition interlock device includes attempting to remove or disable the device or asking someone else to breathe into the tube for you. Besides the penalties that are listed above, you might be ordered to have another period of license suspension and another period of an ignition interlock device. If you are given another license suspension, it will not run concurrently with your current suspension. Instead, it will not begin until your current suspension ends.

Get help from DiCindio Law

If you are facing DUI charges or have been charged with violating the ignition interlock device laws in Pennsylvania, you should seek legal help from DiCindio Law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation by calling 610.430.3535 or by submitting your information on our online contact form.

Credit for Time Served in Inpatient Facilities – DUI Cases

Credit for Time Served In Inpatient Facilities – DUI Cases

When someone has been arrested and is pending trial there are decisions that need to be made based upon the needs of the person and the strategy of the case.  Some of these decisions will be made by the individual and others may be made or dictated to them by the Judge.  One of the decisions is whether or not someone needs to be placed into an inpatient rehabilitation facility in order to address a substance abuse issue.  Most often, this arises out of DUI or driving under the influence / driving while impaired cases.

Voluntary treatment is treated differently than Court ordered treatment

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

What is important to know is that when someone is placed into inpatient as a condition of bail in lieu of pre-trial incarceration they are entitled to have that time spent in inpatient count against any jail sentence they may be later sentenced to. Commonwealth v. Cozzone, 593 A. 2d 860 (Pa. Super. 1991).  Alternatively, if someone voluntarily gone to inpatient on their own accord it may be credited towards their sentence but only if the sentencing Judge, in his/her discretion decides to grant the credit.

The lesson to take from this is that when someone is in the criminal system, facing incarceration and ends up in an inpatient rehabilitation for any reason – his attorney must evaluate any arguments about credit for time spent in rehab that may be available to the client in order to potentially limit the about of time in prison that ultimately must be served.

If you or a loved one needs representation on any criminal matter – contact Mike DiCindio, Esq. directly.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

DUI Law – Push for Ignition Interlock for First Offense DUI

Mike DiCindio West Chester, PA DUI Attorney

Contact West Chester DUI attorney Mike DiCindio to discuss DUI defense options

Recently, there has been word that there will be a renewed push for new legislation requiring first time DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock system in their vehicle once convicted. Currently, this is not a requirement to a first offense DUI sentence in Pennsylvania. Instead, it becomes a requirement with subsequent offenses.

Ignition interlock systems are expensive and burdensome. Generally, the system does not permit a driver to start the ignition of the vehicle until they have provided a breath sample that does not contain a blood alcohol content. Once they have blown into the system with a clean breath test, the vehicle will be able to start. Also, at certain times while the vehicle is operating, the system will require a breath sample from the driver.

These systems are not cheap. Typically they are leased from an approved vendor, still the cost is great. Beyond that, there has been concerns about the effectiveness of the system because they only test for alcohol, not other controlled substances.

Requiring this for first offense DUI offenders will greatly increase the severity of the first offense DUI sentence a long with the cost. And while there are other states that now have this requirement for DUI first offenders, it remains to be seen if Pennsylvania will be added to that list.

If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI offense – contact West Chester criminal defense lawyer, Mike DiCindio today.

 


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.