In Pennsylvania, if you plead guilty to or are convicted of a second or subsequent DUI, one of the consequences of your conviction is that you will have to have an Ignition Interlock device installed in your vehicle. The Ignition Interlock is a piece of equipment that prohibits a person from starting a vehicle if he or she has been drinking. A driver is required to blow into the device before he or she attempts to start the engine. If there is no alcohol on the driver’s breath, the vehicle will start as usual. However, if the device detects alcohol, it will prevent the ignition from firing and the vehicle will not start. Additionally, throughout the course of the drive, the device will prompt the driver to blow into it to ensure that he or she does not drink alcohol after the car is started.

Because a fairly lengthy driver’s license suspension accompanies a second or subsequent DUI conviction, the Ignition Interlock device is installed in the driver’s car after he or she has served a 12 to 18 month suspension. Approximately 30 days prior to the end of the suspension the driver will receive a restoration letter from PennDOT and the driver will have to reply to that letter to get his or her license back. Along with the restoration letter, the driver will receive an application for the Ignition Interlock License and a list of installers. It is the driver’s responsibility to have the device installed and pay the cost of approximately $1,200.

When the driver receives his or her license back from PennDOT, it will appear different than it did when the driver mailed it in. An Ignition Interlock License is a “limited license” and prohibits a driver from operating any vehicle that does not have the interlock device installed in it. It is extremely important that the driver comply with these restrictions and not drive any vehicle without the interlock device. If a driver is caught operating a vehicle without the device, he or she could be fined or imprisoned.

If you have been charged with a second or subsequent DUI, it is important that you discuss your case with an experienced attorney. The Ignition Interlock system is just one of the many complex issues you will have to address in connection with the DUI. Contact my Pittsburgh law office for a qualified attorney who will be able to guide you through the process and hopefully minimize the consequences you will have to face.