Earlier this week, I wrote about amendments to a new West Virginia law that permits motorists charged with driving under the influence to waive their DMV hearings and forgo the two-week license suspension/waiting period, and instead allow them to immediately opt to have ignition-interlock devices installed in their vehicles – a move that the state Division of Motor vehicles lauded.
I thought it would be interesting to explore the subject a little further – because West Virginia isn’t the only state that mandates so-called blow-and-go devices for first-time DUI drivers.
While West Virginia is among 15 states to make ignition interlock devices mandatory, three others are mulling legislation.
Being a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer, I can surely tell you that it’s not just Pittsburgh; there are several other places within Pennsylvania where there are multiple pieces of legislation pending regarding ignition-interlock devices and DUI drivers.
One of them, Senate Bill 1036, which was introduced in 2013 by Sen. John Rafferty, a Republican serving portions of Berks, Chester, and Montgomery counties. In his co-sponsorship memo, he wrote, “This legislation will make the ignition interlock program mandatory for first-time DUI offenders while at the same time reducing suspension requirements in certain cases.”
Rep. John Payne, a Republican serving Dauphin County, in 2013 also introduced legislation in the state House of Representatives.
House Bill 1388 increases penalties for DUIs, and would stipulate that all first-time offenders have ignition-interlock devices installed in their vehicles for a period of one year.
State Rep. Tony DeLuca also introduced legislation regarding the mandatory installation of ignition-interlock devices for first-time DUI offenders.
Under current state law, only those convicted of a second or subsequent DUI are required to have a blow-and-go device installed in their vehicles.
In his co-sponsorship memo, DeLuca, a Democrat serving Allegheny County, wrote, “My legislation would correct this situation by mandating ignition interlock for all DUI offenders, even first-time offenders. Under the bill, ignition interlock would be required in order for any individual, whose license has been suspended for DUI, to obtain a restricted license.”
The takeaway? While legislation that mandates ignition-interlock devices for more DUI drivers is being credited with making roadways safer, it will also mean more costs for defendants. But then again, many clients would likely prefer to pay for the installation and maintenance of the blow-and-go device than pay the other costs that are, all-too-often, associated with DUIs (like the loss of a job because they can’t get there due to a license suspension). For solving DUI cases or to get some tips on such issues contact a Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer.
Update: September 21, 2017
In August of 2017, this new law took effect. First-time DUI offenders can, if they meet certain conditions, be offered an ARD, or Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. This allows the person to have, at their own cost, an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicle. They would then, after they get an ignition interlock license, be allowed to drive their car immediately and without serving a license suspension. For future offenses, the device would be offered after a required period—generally a year to 18 months—of license suspension.
Other offenders are also now required to have the devices. Those who have refused a chemical BAC test, those who have been repeatedly arrested for DUI, and first-time offenders with high BAC levels are all mandated to use ignition interlock devices.
To get a regular license reinstated after completing probation and the set time period for using the ignition interlock, an offender must receive a certification that verifies he or she has not had any offenses in the thirty to sixty days prior to their reinstatement application.
This is a great thing for those convicted of DUI, and I’m happy to see the law implemented.