Ignition Interlocks in Lancaster County: What Drivers Need to Know

As if a drunk driving conviction itself isn’t difficult enough, you may also be facing penalties that include the installation of an ignition interlock.

Here’s what you need to know about ignition interlocks in Lancaster County, PA.

What is an ignition interlock device (IID)?

It’s a breath-testing device wired into a vehicle’s ignition. If you blow a sample into the device and it measures any BAC (blood alcohol content), the vehicle won’t start.

In addition, an IID retests your BAC periodically while you’re driving. A signal will sound, alerting you it’s time to breathe into the unit. If you fail this test, called a rolling retest, lights will flash, an alarm will sound, and the horn will blare until you stop the vehicle.

The IID is an effective DUI deterrent, reducing re-arrest rates for convicted drivers by 67 percent compared to those who only have their license suspended.

Who needs an ignition interlock?

PA drivers with two or more DUI convictions must have an IID installed before license reinstatement. By the end of 2017, some convicted first-time offenders who would typically face a one-year suspension may be eligible to receive their license back after six months if they install an interlock device.

If you’re ordered to install an IID, you must put one in every vehicle you own, operate, or lease, including motorcycles and RVs. However, in some cases, you may be eligible for an employment exemption, allowing you to drive a non-IID-equipped employer-owned vehicle for work purposes only. The exemption doesn’t apply if you, as the convicted driver, fully or partially own the work vehicle.

How much does an ignition interlock device cost?

Although prices can vary, the approximate cost to a PA driver per vehicle is about $800 to $1,300. Costs include a PennDOT special license fee, plus the cost to install and lease the interlock device. If you can’t afford the equipment, you may qualify for a financial hardship exemption.

Do other people who drive my IID-equipped car need to use the device?

Once the ignition interlock is installed, every person who operates that vehicle must provide a breath sample to start and operate it. That means your spouse, other family members, and even your mechanic will need to provide samples. What’s more, you, as the offender, will be held responsible for every sample blown into the unit.

Do ignition interlocks require maintenance?

In PA, you’re required to maintain regular calibration and data download appointments with an approved IID vendor. The vendor will also look for signs the unit has been tampered with. If there’s evidence of tampering, you could be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor and subjected to additional penalties, including imprisonment.

The first maintenance appointment must be within 30 days of installation; after that, you must keep a monitoring appointment every 60 days.

Get the legal expertise you need.

If you’re facing the prospect of DUI conviction and ignition interlocks in Lancaster County, consult an experienced attorney with a track record of fighting for clients just like you. Contact Chieppor & Egner, LLC.


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