transportation and ownership concept - car key in ignition start lock

When faced with drunk-driving charges—whether driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated—defendants may face the possibility of mandatory use of ignition interlock systems. For most people, this is new territory and they have no idea what an ignition interlock system entails. The following is some brief information regarding ignition interlocks:

  • An ignition interlock system is essentially a car breathalyzer connected to the ignition system of your car.
  • It is designed to keep anyone under the influence of alcohol from driving the vehicle.
  • The driver must provide a breath sample by blowing into the interlock device before starting the vehicle.
  • If the breath sample submitted is below a preset state limit, the driver will be able to start the vehicle.
  • If the breath alcohol concentration is above the preset limit, the vehicle will not start.

Do I Have to Get an Ignition Interlock System?

The state of Pennsylvania has clear guidelines for ignition interlock system requirements. Pennsylvania has instituted an ignition interlock requirement for individuals convicted of a second offense (or any subsequent number of offenses) of driving under the influence, or DUI. A person convicted of DUI more than once must have an ignition interlock system installed on every vehicle that she owns, operates, or leases for one year. Moreover, a person must serve a suspension of at least one year before ignition interlock eligibility.

So, when do you have to get an ignition interlock system?

  • If your license was suspended because of a DUI/DWI offense, the court may require you to get an ignition interlock device to fully restore your driving privileges.
  • If you fail to have an ignition interlock installed when ordered by a judge, this could result in an additional driving privilege suspension.

What Will an Ignition Interlock System Mean for Me?

An interlock system is not free, and all alcohol ignition interlocks have to meet standards set by the federal government. These standards are intended to ensure the device is reliable and the devices are regularly tested by independent laboratories. You have to pay the costs of the installation, calibration, testing, and reading of your device by an approved installer.

Questions about such a system might include:

  • What does an interlock system cost? The cost varies, but is roughly $70-$150 to install and $60-$90 per month for monitoring and calibration.
  • Will installing a system damage my car? Ignition interlocks are connected to the wiring of the vehicle. The system does not affect the operation of the vehicle except to prevent its operation if the driver fails a breath test. When removed, the vehicle is returned to its original condition.

Call the Zeiger Firm Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

If you find yourself facing charges related to driving under the influence, you should seek legal representation. It is important to find competent attorneys to guide you through the legal process. The attorneys at the Zeiger Firm regularly defend against DUI charges to help clients avoid conviction and costly consequences whenever possible. Call us today at (215) 546-0340 or contact us via our online contact form.

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.