Information on DUI Interlock Devices

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is a gadget, a little bit larger than a cell phone, that is wired to your car’s ignition. Individuals are required to blow into the device before starting the engine. Some feature a “rolling challenge” which means that the operator must provide a near ethanol free sample as they are driving in order to keep driving or the car shuts down.  All systems are leased for approximately $1,000 per system. According to the current law, individuals convicted of a second or subsequent offense of DUI in PA are required to have an Ignition Interlock System installed in their vehicle for one-year immediately following the license suspension.

1. Start-Up: To start their vehicles, drivers are required to blow into the device. If it detects alcohol at .025 percent Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC), the device will prevent the vehicle from starting; and will enter into lockout for five minutes. If after the 2nd breath test, the driver’s BrAC is still above .025, the next few lockout periods will be for 30 minutes each.ignition-interlock_33

2. Rolling Retest Feature: In order to prevent someone from drinking and then having a sober person breathe into the device to start the car, you are periodically asked to provide breath samples as you drive. While driving, if you are unable to provide a clean breath sample, the device will log the event, warn the driver, start an alarm with lights flashing and horn honking, until the car is turned off or a clean breath sample is provided. It will not simply shut off the engine, as is the common misconception, because this would cause an unsafe driving situation.

3. Early Recall: A violation that requires the driver of the vehicle to return the vehicle to an ignition interlock installation service center for unscheduled service includes:
A. Three Breath Alcohol Concentrations over .025
B. One rolling retest violation
C. One event of tampering with the ignition interlock device

When the early recall is initiated, the driver will have 5 days to report to a service center with an additional 5 day grace period. If the grace period is exceeded, the vehicle will enter into a permanent lockout condition resulting in the vehicle being towed to the installation service center.

4. Monitoring: Program participants are scheduled to report for monitoring after the first 30 days and thereafter every 60 days. Here the vehicle is checked for tampering, recalibrated, and the device data log – which records all activity – is reviewed.

What Are The Penalties Involved With Ignition Interlock?

A driver found operating a motor vehicle without an ignition interlock will be arrested. And if the individual is found with a .025 BrAC, then he/she will be fined $1000 and imprisoned for a minimum of 90 days. Also tampering with the device, which includes using another individual to provide a breath sample.

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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