DUI Rules & Regulations
MAY 26, 206
Attention Drunk Drivers! Brace yourself for significant changes in DUI penalties in the State of Pennsylvania. The Logue Law Group, as experts in this field, carefully monitors these updates. Unfortunately, the outlook is not promising for those who make the reckless decision to drink and drive. It’s worth noting that even the influence of certain prescription drugs, when prescribed by your doctor, can lead to a DUI charge.
October 3, 2017
Pennsylvania introduced noteworthy changes to its DUI laws, effective August 2017. These changes put first-time offenders in the spotlight. Now, individuals facing their initial DUI offense must install a special device in their vehicles. This device actively checks for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) before allowing the ignition to start. Offenders bear the cost of this ignition interlock device, which examines the breath of the driver and permits vehicle activation only when the BAC is below the legal limit of .08%. Moreover, the device provides multiple attempts for accuracy. If the BAC is too high on the first try, the ignition interlock holds it for five minutes. A second unsuccessful attempt triggers a thirty-minute lockout period.
In addition to installing the device, first-time DUI offenders are granted permission to drive to work, provided they possess an ignition interlock license. The device must remain installed for a year in their vehicle. Approved PennDOT mechanics are responsible for installing the ignition interlock, which costs approximately $100 per year.
Previously, a first-time DUI conviction would automatically result in a year-long driver’s license suspension. Under the new law, individuals who refuse to submit to a blood-alcohol test during their first offense can install the interlock device and regain driving privileges after serving a six-month license suspension, regardless of its original duration. Previously, this action led to a suspension of anywhere between one to 18 months.
To bolster the system’s resistance against any cheating attempts, the device now conducts random tests while the vehicle is in motion, with the driver at the wheel. This dynamic “rolling re-test” enhances the integrity of the process.
Previously, ignition interlock devices were reserved exclusively for repeat DUI offenders. However, the recent revisions in Pennsylvania’s DUI legislation have expanded their usage to include first-time offenders as well.
The change in the law has been driven by the significant number of individuals whose job security suffered due to suspended licenses. The inability to find transportation to work resulted in lost employment opportunities, reduced working hours, and financial hardships for these offenders. As a consequence, many resorted to driving with suspended licenses, further exacerbating their legal and financial burdens.
Additionally, beyond the realm of livelihood and monetary concerns, parents with suspended licenses due to DUI offenses often experienced the distressing absence from important family events and were unable to actively participate in their children’s activities.
July 1, 2019
Important updates have been implemented regarding DUI laws in Pennsylvania. These updates, which came into effect on December 23, 2018, have significant implications, particularly for individuals facing a third High-DUI offense.
Notably, the consequences for a third High-DUI offense have become more severe, potentially resulting in a felony charge. A High-DUI offense is determined when an individual’s blood alcohol content reaches 0.16 percent or higher. The same charges now apply to those facing a fourth or subsequent DUI offense.
Additionally, if a person causes a fatality while driving under the influence, they may face a first-degree felony charge, accompanied by an additional five years of imprisonment. The new legislation also increases penalties for driving without a license and committing aggravated assault. Specifically, the prison term for aggravated assault is extended by two years.
Moreover, the updated law brings about higher fines and jail terms for driving under suspension resulting from a previous DUI. For a first offense, a conviction carries a minimum fine of $500, along with a maximum jail term of 60 days. A second offense mandates a minimum jail term of 90 days, along with a $1,000 fine.
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