This year, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill into law that makes the penalties for driving under the influence in Pennsylvania significantly more severe. The law will go into effect in August 2017.
According to Title 75 of the Vehicle Code, all Pennsylvania residents who are pulled over while driving under the influence will be required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles if their blood alcohol concentration is .10 or greater. Prior to the passage of this law, ignition interlock devices were only required for those who were repeatedly convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and first time offenders usually only received a short license suspension.
Ignition Interlock Devices
These devices measure the amount of alcohol on a driver’s breath. If an unacceptable blood alcohol content is detected the car will not start. Under Pennsylvania law, individuals who refuse to submit to chemical testing when detained for driving under the influence will also be issued an ignition interlock limited license.
If an individual is convicted of committing another offense involving driving under the influence while an ignition interlock device is installed in his or her vehicle, law enforcement officers may take one of a number of different actions, including:
- Extending the term of the ignition interlock limited license for up to the original term for which the license was suspended; or
- Recalling the limited license and requiring the driver to surrender his or her driver’s license.
There is, however, an employment exception for those who are required in the course and scope of their employment to be in actual physical control of a car supplied by their employer. In these situations, the individual is allowed to drive the car without installing an ignition interlock system if the following requirements are met:
- The employer has been notified that the employee is restricted; and
- The driver has proof, in his or her possession, that the employer was notified of the restrictions.
Proof that an employer has been notified of a driver’s restriction can be established only by the employer’s notarized signature on a specific form, which must also include the employer’s contact telephone number. Even a driver who must operate a car for his or her job may still not qualify for this exception if:
- An employer-owned car is made available for the employee’s personal use; or
- The car is owned by an entity which is partly or wholly owned by the driver; or
- The vehicle is a school bus, a school vehicle, or a car designed to transport more than 15 people, including the driver.
Contact a Dedicated Philadelphia DUI Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one live in Pennsylvania and were recently charged with driving under the influence, please contact van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim by calling (215) 486-0123 and a member of our legal team will help you schedule a free consultation with an experienced DUI lawyer who can help explain your legal options.