Changes to Ignition Interlock Device laws and their effect on first-time DUI offenders and A.R.D. candidates.
On May 25, 2016, Senate Bill 290 was signed into law by Governor Wolf, expanding existing ignition interlock device (“IID”) law. Prior to the bill being signed, Pennsylvania law only required that IID’s be installed in the vehicles of repeat drunk drivers. The amended law now requires that first-time DUI offenders convicted of having a blood alcohol level of .10 or higher install an ignition interlock device on all of their vehicles. The portions of the law that are applicable to DUI offenders went into effect on August 25, 2017 and apply to all DUI cases resolving after that date. A second phase of the law went into effect on October 20, 2018 and applies to those admitted into the A.R.D. program after that date.
The rationale behind this expansion in the law is public safety. “Drunk driving is a deadly crime that puts Pennsylvania families at risk, and this legislation will help prevent people from driving drunk and endangering themselves and putting other lives at risk.” Governor Wolf said. In addition to protecting society, this legislation also allows someone who has been convicted of a DUI to remain a productive member of society. Those who fall within the .10 to .15 blood alcohol content range may avoid the mandatory one-year license suspension by obtaining an ignition interlock limited license (IILL). The IILL allows individuals to drive to work, take their children to school, attend doctor appointments, etc., without having to rely on someone else to drive them — as long as they have not consumed any alcohol! Experienced DUI Attorney Caterina Saile knows the law and can defend your rights.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)?
IID is a device that is installed in a vehicle and which requires an individual to blow into it before the vehicle will start. Pennsylvania law requires that the alcohol level detected by the IID be less than 0.025%. If an alcohol level greater than this very small amount is detected by the IID, the vehicle will not start. After a vehicle is successfully started, the device will prompt the driver to periodically blow into it while the vehicle is in operation. This means that you will be required to blow into the IID device during your drive.
It is important to note that some food and drink will prevent your engine from starting and may cause a false reading on the device. Some of these foods include those made with yeast, as well as any food, mouth wash, or medicine containing alcohol.
Who does the new law apply to?
Under the new law, those convicted of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .10 or higher (high reading) may apply for an “ignition interlock limited license” (IILL) The new law specifically excludes those involved in a DUI-fatality however. The law applies to ALL VEHICLES in that person’s name. To learn more about your eligibility for an IILL, contact Saile & Saile, LLP for a complimentary DUI consultation.
What if I am accepted into the A.R.D. Program?
Pennsylvania law now allows you to obtain an Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL) while serving your A.R.D. driver’s license suspension. Since suspensions for A.R.D. defendants are generally for a short period of time (30 to 90 days), there are many factors to consider before having an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. These include the cost of the device as well as the length of time it may take to receive your Pennsylvania IILL. Attorney Caterina Saile can help you decide if an IILL is right for you.
Are the penalties the same if you have been charged with a Refusal?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. If you have been charged with a refusal to submit to chemical testing, the penalties are more stringent. If this is your first offense, you will incur a 1-year suspension. For any subsequent offenses, the penalty will be 18 months. These penalties are in addition to any license suspension resulting from your DUI conviction.
How do I apply for an Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL)?
You must submit an application, required fees and all necessary documentation to PennDOT 30 days prior to eligibility. You also must complete every task listed in PennDOT’s Restoration Requirements Letter before you will be approved. All documentation and payment must all be mailed to PennDOT via certified mail. PennDOT will provide you with a list of the ignition interlock dealers approved by the State of Pennsylvania. You would then choose an approved installer and have the ignition interlock device installed. Finally, after all steps are completed, the installer will notify PennDOT and PennDOT will then issue your IILL. This limited license allows you to operate a vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device.
This legislation applies to all vehicles you own. According to PennDOT “all vehicles owned, operated, or leased by” the person who was convicted of DUI must be equipped with an ignition interlock device. The literal reading means that even any unregistered, inoperable, and antique vehicles owned by that individual MUST be equipped with an ignition interlock device. You will be required to complete a “Self-Certification of Vehicle(s) Owned/Operated Form” and list all vehicles that you own.
Are there any exemptions?
Yes, there is an Employment Exemption. This exemption allows a person to drive an employer-owned vehicle without an ignition interlock device but only for employment purposes. Your employer must file an affidavit with PennDOT certifying that the driver’s job responsibilities require that the driver operate a company vehicle as part of his employment. This does not apply to use of a company vehicle for personal use, or to vehicles that are owned by a company in which the IILL driver is an owner. The exemption will not apply to school buses or vehicles, or vehicles that are used to transport more than 15 passengers. The exemption will also not apply to certified inspection mechanics so that they can test drive customer vehicles.
What is the cost of an Ignition Interlock device?
The cost of the ignition interlock device varies, but PennDOT estimates that a non-A.R.D. fee will cost approximately $900-$1,300 per year for each system. This estimate does not include any additional costs incurred from the installer, the IILL application fee ($65) and all maintenance fees. A.R.D. Ignition Interlock fees will depend on the length of your suspension but are approximately $500. You are responsible for all costs.
Any violations of this program can result in additional fines, imprisonment, the extension of the ignition interlock period, or recalling of the IILL so that driving privileges are completed suspended.
How are my full driving privileges reinstated?
PennDOT will notify you 30 days prior to the expiration of the IILL and they will send you the required form to obtain your unrestricted license. This form must be submitted along with the required fee for reinstatement. If your license is set to expire within 6 months, you may choose to renew it at that time by paying an additional fee.
If you have been charged with a DUI, you may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicles. The knowledgeable DUI attorneys at Saile & Saile, LLP are ready to serve you!