Dear Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer: What are Interlock Devices?

Every Friday we take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions about Pennsylvania DUI so we can clear up any misconceptions and provide you with the most up-to-date and accurate information about Pennsylvania DUI laws and related topics. Today:

Dear Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer,

What is an Ignition Interlock Device is and do I have to have one installed if I am convicted of a DUI in Pennsylvania?

Ignition interlock devices do not allow drivers to start their cars unless they first blow into a tube and test their alcohol level.  There are different forms and methods of the instrumentation in terms of their setup to confirm that the driver has not had anything to drink.  However, in general, they follow this type of method:   If alcohol is detected, the vehicle will not start for 5 minutes.  A second failed attempt will cause a 30 minute lock out and a third will mean that the device will have to be taken to a service center to reset it.  The initial installation of the device costs about $1,000 and it costs $75 to have it reset.  After starting the vehicle, the device requires the driver to test are random times as well while the vehicle is in motion.

These devices are not specific or selective for ethanol.  In fact, they can and do record false positives based upon even just simply eating bread.  If you are charged with an interlock violation, we can help.

Drivers who are required to have a DUI interlock device are issued restricted Pennsylvania driver’s licenses with red borders so police officers can easily identify who is required to have one installed.  If a driver who is under an interlock restriction is found driving a vehicle without the device installed, and he/she is convicted, then further loss of license and possible incarceration may come about.

Pennsylvania adopted the Ignition-Interlock Law in 2000.  Over 5,000 interlock devices have been installed in Pennsylvania.  Anyone convicted of a DUI who has a prior offense within the last 10 years is required to use an ignition-interlock device for one year after their license suspension is served.

If you would like to ask a question, please submit it via the contact us link.

Justin McShane

PA DUI attorney Justin J. McShane is the President/CEO of The McShane Firm, LLC - Pennsylvania's top criminal law and DUI law firm. He is the highest rated DUI attorney in PA as rated by Justin McShane is a double Board certified attorney. He is the first and so far the only Pennsylvania attorney to achieve American Bar Association recognized board certification in DUI defense from the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. He is also a Board Certified Criminal Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court Approved Agency.

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