September 27, 2017
Ignition Interlock Now Required for Even First Time DUI Convictions in Pennsylvania
There are many collateral consequences which come with a DUI conviction. A new Pennsylvania law is about to add yet another one. The new law requires the installation of ignition interlock devices for all DUI convictions – even first-time offenses. An ignition interlock is just one of the many consequences Scranton defendants face when they are charged with driving under the influence. Learn more about the collateral consequences of a DUI in Pennsylvania.
According to CBS Philly, ignition interlock devices are not required in every DUI case in which the defendant had a blood alcohol content of .10 or above. Previously, defendants with a blood alcohol level above .10 were subject to a mandatory twelve-month suspension of their driver’s licenses. The new ignition interlock requirement allows defendants to retain driving privileges (subject to successful use of the ignition interlock).
Section 3804 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes set the minimum sentencing guidelines for DUI cases. For a first offense, a defendant must be placed on probation for a minimum of six months, pay a fine of $300, and attend an alcohol highway safety program (in addition to any other alcohol screening or counseling ordered by the court). For a second offense, the defendant must be sentenced to a minimum of five days in jail, in addition to the fines, classes, and alcohol counseling.
DUI Consequences That Many Defendants Don’t Know About
While most defendants understand that they face a combination of fines, jail time, and ignition interlock use, they are painfully unaware of the collateral consequences that a DUI conviction can bring. First, the court process is not a simple matter of filling out forms. It requires multiple appearances at the court which often result in missing work.
Court-ordered community service and substance abuse classes take more time and can further aggravate the defendant’s employer. Furthermore, the sentenced fine is not the only court cost a DUI defendant must pay. There are court fees, administrative fees, attorney’s fees, and other fees which add up quickly.
Finally, defendants do not always realize the impact of having a criminal record. This can preclude employment and educational opportunities. Social events and relationships can also be impacted.
A DUI defendant’s employment can also be affected by his or her professional licensure. Many licensing entities in Pennsylvania require reporting of criminal convictions – some even require reporting of arrests and other pre-conviction proceedings.
A first time DUI offense can cause a defendant to spend many hours attempting to secure his or her professional licensure. This, too, can incur more attorney’s fees.
Finally, it is important to realize how much time must be spent at the DMV in order to reinstate a DUI defendant’s driving privileges. A special restricted license must be obtained for the period in which a defendant has an ignition interlock device. When this period is successfully completed, the defendant must obtain the appropriate court order and return to the DMV to have his or her regular driver’s license reinstated. This process is neither fun nor fast.
Contact an experienced Scranton DUI attorney today to protect your constitutional rights and mitigate the collateral damage of a DUI conviction.