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When Do DUI Defendants Need Ignition Interlock Devices?

Many individuals who are convicted of drunk driving offenses in the state of Pennsylvania will be required to have special Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) installed on any cars they own or any cars they drive.

The installation of these ignition interlock devices is extremely costly, and you are required to use the devices for a lengthy period of time. The only way to avoid having the devices installed is not to be convicted of an offense which would prompt their installation or not to drive or own a vehicle. If you have an income below 200 percent of the poverty level, you can demonstrate that you fall within a limited hardship exemption and you will only be required to install the device in one car, rather than all cars you own or use. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation explains its Ignition Interlock Device program. According to the Department of Transportation, repeat drunk driving offenders in PA are required to install an IID following conviction. A repeat offender is defined to include someone who is convicted of a second or subsequent DUI within 10 years of the time of the prior offense.

When you are required to have an ignition interlock device installed, you must have the device and maintained in each car you own, operate, or lease for a period of one full year. If you drive a company car, or drive the car of any friend or family member, an ignition interlock device will need to be installed within that vehicle. The device is not installed, and the year does not begin, until you have served a license suspension of at least one year during which time you are not allowed to drive at all.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is very clear in the rules that the devices be installed on each car the convicted DUI offender is ever going to be driving, which can become quite costly. The IID systems must be leased from approved vendors, and the approximate cost of leasing the IID is estimated by DOT at around $1,000 per system. These high costs must be paid by the person who is required by law to have the device installed in the car.

If you are required to have an IID and you drive any car without an ignition interlock device installed, you can face penalties including a one-year extension of the time when the device must be used. Repeat instances of driving a car that is not equipped with the ignition interlock device can lead to another license suspension.

Because the use of these devices cannot be avoided once you are convicted, you should try to do everything you can to avoid a second or subsequent DUI conviction within 10 years of the first offense. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible when you are charged is important so you can work towards a strategic response to the DUI charges.

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