DUI offenders: New law in Pennsylvania and ignition interlock devices.

There were 10,256 alcohol related crashes in Pennsylvania according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation last year.
Everyone agrees that is way too many accidents related to alcohol abuse. The question then becomes how do you try to make the roads safer for drivers?

In an obvious attempt to address this issue a new law has been passed in Pennsylvania effective August 25, 2017.

The new law requires defendants who are convicted of first time DUI with a 0.10% BAC to install the ignition interlock device in their cars in order to drive.

According to an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, ignition interlock devices require drivers to blow into a tube that measures any alcohol in their system. If the amount is over the limit, your car will not start.

This is a change from prior Pennsylvania law. Before ignition interlock devices were only required for repeat drunk driver offenders.

Not for first-time offenders.

However the new law in the opinion of Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully will not have a universal application for all first-time offenders.

Why not?

Because of the ARD program. The ARD program allows first time offenders of drunk driving to have their case deferred until they complete a probationary program. At that time the charges against them are dismissed.

And most people who are arrested for a 1st DUI are automatically eligible for the ARD program.

Therefore for the vast majority of 1st time DUI offenders, this law does not appear to have a lot of effect. It does have a big effect however for people who are not eligible for the program.

Who might they be you ask? People who have been on the ARD program and were kicked off for noncompliance fall in this category.

And people who get arrested for another crime while they are on the ARD program will likely need to set up an ignition interlock on their car also.

If a person on ARD for DUI gets charged with a theft, they may  get kicked off the program and have to stand trial on the original DUI case.

So this new law will snarl some offenders.

Also under this new law, if you refuse to take the breathalyzer test even as a first-time offender, then the ignition interlock becomes your new friend.

In other words you have to install the device to drive if you refuse the test.

Pittsburgh criminal defense and criminal defense attorney Bernie Tully wants to know what your thoughts are on this new law. Is it a step in the right direction? What about the enormous cost to the taxpayers to administer the program? Is it worth it financially if your taxes go up because of it?

Thanks for reading.

Bernie the attorney