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Ignition Interlock Program for First Time DUI Offenders

Posted on September 24th, 2015

The Pennsylvania Senate has unanimously approved a bill which will expand the Ignition Interlock Program to include first time DUI offenders. This bill known as, Senate Bill 290, now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.  Similar bills have passed the Senate in the previous two legislative sessions but they were not approved by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Ignition Interlock Program

The Ignition Interlock Bill, otherwise known as Senate Bill 290, would require drivers to install Ignition Interlock System to their vehicle before the driver was allowed to resume driving after a DUI – if they did not have a prior offense within the past 10 years.  An ignition interlock is a device that attaches to the ignition of a vehicle and requires the driver to take a breathalyzer test that measures the blood alcohol content before a driver can start the engine. The machine further requires the drivers to take additional breathalyzer tests while the vehicle is being operated, which are known as, rolling retests.

The original sponsor of the bill, suburban Philadelphia Republican John Rafferty, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, believes the current law is too lax and tougher restrictions on DUI drivers will decrease the incidents of DUI.

Under the current DUI law in Pennsylvania, ignition interlock systems are only mandated for DUI offenders with two or more offenses.  Those offenses must also take place within 10 years of each other.  Also the current law only requires the device to be attached to the vehicle for a period of 1 year.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator John Rafferty, was quoted by CBS, and said “research has shown a substantial number of first-time offenders will violate the terms of their license suspension and become repeat offenders.  Ignition interlocks will place them in a controlled environment that will enable them to continue driving safely to work, school, etc.”

Rafferty later also stated, “50 to 70-percent of drunk drivers continue to drive on a suspended license…. States requiring interlocks on the first offense – which is what this bill will do – such as Arizona, Oregon [and] New Mexico, have had DUI deaths cut by 33-percent.”  Rafferty is one of the most outspoken members of the Senate with regard to Senate Bill 290.  He continues to cite neighboring states statistics that have shown reductions in Driving Fatalities after Ignition Interlock was required.

Many residents convicted of DUI already have severe Financial Burdens imposed on them from their conviction.  Adding the Car Ignition Interlock system to their vehicle can cost up $2,000 more per vehicle.   Also this is another restriction upon the freedoms of 1st time offenders of DUI.

Experienced Pennsylvania DUI Representation

Have you been charged with Drunk Driving? Punishments for a DUI conviction can range from no jail time required all the way up to a mandatory minimum of at least one year in state prison. Don’t face these high fines and Mandatory Minimum sentences alone.  Call the DUI defense lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices today for representation,  (610) 692-8700.