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Alcohol Education and Ignition Interlock DUI Penalties

April 29, 2021

Driving under the influence laws in Pennsylvania imposes multiple penalties on people found to be operating vehicles while impaired or intoxicated. People accused of DUI generally know that they will have their licenses revoked and face fines. The law frequently authorizes jail time for repeat offenses or high blood alcohol concentrations. Even at the first level of penalties for general impairment, defined as BAC up to 0.099%, you may have to attend an alcohol education class and pay for an ignition interlock system.

Alcohol Highway Safety School

State law requires people convicted of a DUI charge, even on the first offense, to attend an alcohol highway safety school. You have to pay for all expenses necessary to complete this course, which must present at least 12-1/2 hours of instruction.

Core topics in the class include:

Physical absorption of drugs and alcohol
Relationship between intoxicated driving and motor vehicle accidents
Influence of intoxicants on vision, judgment, and muscular control

Ignition Interlock Device

If you have a prior DUI offense on your record, then your penalty will likely include the installation of an ignition interlock device. If you own or lease more than one vehicle, each vehicle requires device installation. However, you may qualify for a financial hardship exemption. If a court approves your request for an exemption, then you would only have to pay for an ignition interlock on one vehicle.

Employment-Related Driving

The law can accommodate people who have to drive employer-owned vehicles. Once you obtain this exemption, you may drive a work vehicle for purposes related solely to your job. This exemption does not apply to a school bus or other large passenger vehicles. Violations of the terms of your ignition interlock requirement will result in a 12-month extension of the penalty.

Although the costs related to educational and ignition interlock devices add up, they represent acceptable alternatives to jail time for most defendants. A conversation with a criminal defense attorney often helps people understand their legal position and what to expect in terms of defense options or penalties.