An ignition interlock may not seem like a big deal compared to the fines, potential suspicions and possible jail time a DUI can bring, but it is certainly not insignificant.
Pennsylvania law will typically require you to install the device if your first DUI was with a high level of alcohol or when the charge is not your first. Here are some of the effects it could have:
The installation cost
You should budget around $1,000 or more per year to hire the device. You will also need to take it in for scheduled maintenance, which may cost extra.
The limits on which vehicles you can drive
Let’s say you have two family cars that you alternate between as needs require. Will you pay to have a device on both?
Or you take turns driving a friend’s pick-up when you go away for camping trips. Will your friend be willing to drive all the way? Will you need to shorten how far you travel with only one driver?
What if you drive for work?
If you drive your employer’s vehicle as part of your job, they can apply for an exemption for you. Yet that places an extra burden on them, and they may not want someone with a drunk driving conviction in charge of their vehicles. Or their insurer may only allow them to do so for a premium. Certain employers will not even have that option. For instance, if you drive school kids for a living, you may need to find another job.
All those situations could be complicated if you pick up a DUI conviction.
Driving a vehicle without a device could lead to an extension on how long you must use one or a license suspension. Tampering with the device or somehow trying to cheat it could lead to further sanctions.
The best way to avoid ignition interlock problems is to get legal help to fight the DUI charge.