What you should know about ignition interlock devices

People who have been convicted of a DUI may have to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.

People in Pennsylvania who drink before getting behind the wheel are at risk of being pulled over by law enforcement and getting charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. When drivers are convicted of a DUI, they must pay a fine, attend alcohol highway safety school and may have their driver's licenses suspended for a certain period of time. Drivers who have had prior DUI offenses, will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles in order to minimize the chance that they will commit another drunk driving offense.

What is an ignition interlock device?

Ignition interlock devices are small breath test machines that are wired directly into the ignition system of a vehicle. Before the driver is able to start the car, he or she must submit a breath sample into a tube that is connected to a dashboard monitor. The machine then measures the amount of alcohol contained in the breath sample to see whether the driver is able to operate the vehicle. If the driver's blood alcohol content level is below a set point, such as 0.02 percent, the car will start. However, if the driver has a BAC level that is above the set point, the car will lock up. The driver will also be prompted to submit breath samples periodically while driving in order to keep the car going.

Ignition interlock laws

Although interlock devices are not required for all convicted DUI offenders in Pennsylvania, people who have had one or two previous convictions will be required to use the device for at least one year. While offenders have the ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles, they will be required to take the vehicle in for periodic maintenance appointments. During these appointments, the ignition interlock device will be calibrated and all of the information recorded within the device is transferred to law enforcement officials for review. If the offender violates the IID laws in any way, he or she may have to keep the device for an extended period of time.

Looking after your rights

If you face DUI charges, you may feel overwhelmed and confused. People who are convicted of a DUI may have problems finding employment, obtaining loans or even applying for a professional license. In order to protect your rights, you may want to seek counsel from a criminal defense attorney who understands how the legal process works.