The state Senate Transportation Committee recently held a hearing on proposed legislation, SB 1036, which seeks to expand ignition interlock requirements to ALL DUI offenders in Pennsylvania.
Currently, Pennsylvania's ignition interock laws only apply to DUI offenders with a prior DUI conviction. The proposed law would require even first-time DUI offenders to install interlock devices in their vehicles.
Accelerated Rehabiltative Disposition (ARD) Program for First-Time DUI Offenders
ARD is a diversionary program for first-time offenders, including persons charged with Driving Under The Influence, that offers people an opportunity for reduced penalties, as well as dismissal and expungement of the offense(s), upon successful completion.
For person's accused of drunk or drugged driving, admission into and successful completion of ARD eliminates any mandatory jail time and reduces the period of license suspension.
Under current DUI sentencing provisions, a person admitted into ARD would receive a drivers license suspension of either 0, 30, 60, or 90 days, based upon the level of alcohol and/or drugs in their system and other factors. However, incident to the reduced license suspension, there are no ignition interlock requirements or opportunities to obtain a restricted license.
Under the proposed changes, a first-time DUI offender admitted into ARD would be subject to a license suspension and ignition interlock for a period of 6 or 12 months depending upon specific factors in the case. Ultimately, while the period of a drivers license suspension would be increased, the ignition interock requirement would permit the individual to drive their vehicle upon installation of the device.
Practical Implications and Considerations of Ignition Interlock Expansion
Advocates of the proposed change point to safety as a key consideration. Statistically, reports suggest that broader ignition interlock requirements reduce recidivism rates by preventing repeat DUI offenses and reduce motor vehicle fatalities related to DUI accidents.
Additionally, many people subjected to any period of DUI drivers license suspension find the collateral consequences create a substantial hardship. Unable to legally operate a motor vehicle, people (particularly in rural areas where public transportation is unavailable) are stuck with the choice of losing their job or getting arrested for driving under suspension. While the proposed interlock requirements will come at a more immediate and higher financial costs, a greater opportunity to preserve employment by maintaining a restricted operating privilege will exist.
Helping People Accused of DUI
When you have been accused of drunk driving, you need an experienced and knowledgeable Pennsylvania DUI Defense Attorney in your corner.
The penalties for Driving Under The Influence can be costly. A DUI conviction can cost you your freedom, your drivers license privileges, and your employment.
Protect Your Rights. Defend Your Freedom. Restore Your Life.
Shawn Curry Law can help. Contact us today.