The Pennsylvania Legislature wisely enacted Act 33 of 2016, which will benefit both DUI offenders and the public. This new state law allows first-time DUI offenders with a blood-alcohol content of .10 or above the chance to keep their driving privileges and, therefore, their post-arrest lives intact. As of August 25, 2017 these offenders may have an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicle for a one year period which will allow them to drive for work and for their families.
Of course, the cost to install an ignition interlock system and maintain it will be the responsibility of the DUI offender. The costs could change and will vary by county, but the system will cost approximately $1,000.00 to install and about $100.00 a month to maintain. It is also worth knowing that many of these ignition interlock systems are very sensitive and it is possible for them to register things like mouthwash or food cooked with alcohol.
What About ARD?
This new law temporarily created an interesting dilemma for those first time offenders who are eligible for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (“ARD”) program. The ARD program allows first time offenders the opportunity to avoid a DUI conviction and earn an expungement of their charge(s). Along with this benefit is a reduction in the license suspension period from 1 year to 30, 60, or 90 days, depending on the circumstances. However, as explained above, Act 33 will allow first time offenders who do not participate in the ARD program the option of maintaining their right to drive with one year of ignition interlock. Given the tremendous burden that even a short-term license suspension can cause, it would not be unreasonable for someone to forego the benefits of ARD and opt for one year of ignition interlock instead.
Eventually, the Pennsylvania Legislature realized that they would be placing first time offenders in this catch-22 and passed a subsequent bill that, in part, will give people in ARD the option of installing the ignition interlock and altogether avoiding a full license suspension.
If you or someone you know is charged with Driving Under the Influence or have questions about the new Ignition Interlock Law, call DeLuco Law at 412-444-8771 or email us to find out if you are eligible for an expungement.