A new DUI law is scheduled to go into effect in late August that will change the sentencing standards for certain individuals arrested on drunk driving charges in the State of Pennsylvania.
The new law goes into effect on August 25th and will apply to drivers convicted of first-offense DUI charges with a blood alcohol level of 0.10% or higher. Learn more about dram shop liability.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 33 back in 2016 with the aim of improving PA’s DUI legislation. The law will require all drivers convicted of a first-offense DUI with a blood alcohol content of 0.10% or greater to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.
The new law gives drivers convicted of a first-offense DUI the opportunity to continue to drive with an ignition interlock device instead of a one-year license suspension. In addition to giving first-offenders the opportunity to keep their license, the new law also allows repeat offenders to apply for an ignition interlock device halfway into their license suspension.
Similar laws have been passed in several states throughout the US in recent years.
Ignition interlock devices are not cheap. In fact, DUI experts estimate that the price of an interlock device and the installation costs can be anywhere between $800 to $1,300.
Drivers sentenced to install an ignition interlock device after a DUI conviction must pay for the interlock device and the installation costs. These expenses are in addition to the standard fines and fees that are associated with a DUI conviction.
However, drivers who cannot afford an ignition interlock device may still be able to obtain the device by apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to have the costs covered.
Proponents of the new law say that one of the main objectives of the law is to help DUI offenders continue to be productive members of society. Many individuals convicted of a DUI offense end up losing their license for an extended period of time which restricts their ability to get to work and continue other important aspects of their lives.
“Not only is it going to make our highways safer, but the individual will be able to get that ignition interlock right away. They’re going to be able to go to work,” said Eileen Lee, of the Pennsylvania DUI Association.
Lee and many other advocates of the new law argue that an ignition interlock device is much more effective than a driver’s license suspension.
However, not everyone is in favor of the new DUI law. Many opponents of the law argue that the new sentencing standards will not provide drunk drivers with sufficient punishment for their actions.
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