A recent change to Pennsylvania DUI laws allows individuals accused of a DUI the option to continue driving with a special license and an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle for a year. An ignition interlock device functions as a breathalyzer test that prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath. An alternate diversionary program may also be available but the accused individual’s driver’s license will be suspended for 30 to 90 days.

The new options apply to individuals accused of a DUI that have a blood alcohol content level of .10 or higher. For individuals accused of a DUI with a BAC of between .10 and .159, they face a mandatory jail sentence of 2 days, a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000 and one year driver’s license suspension along with alcohol highway safety classes and possible treatment requirements. The change in the law provides for the accused individual to choose an ignition interlock device instead of license suspension.

Accused individuals are eligible for the ignition interlock device in lieu of losing their license if they are convicted of a DUI. Representatives for accused individuals note that the decision is an important one for accused individuals to have guidance while making. It will not be until next fall that individuals that choose the diversion program will have the same option to choose an ignition interlock device over losing their license for a year.

Because of the significant legal and personal consequences of driving under the influence charges, it is important for accused individuals to understand their legal options and criminal defense rights. Different sets of potential penalties and consequences apply for different levels of DUI charges, which are divided into 3 tiers in Pennsylvania, so it is essential for accused individuals to be familiar with DUI laws in the state and their criminal defense rights.

Source: YDR.com, “New law gives first-time DUI offenders an option to losing their license for a year,” Dylan Segelbaum, Aug. 19, 2017