New Option for Drivers Convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania

Being convicted of a Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substances charge in Pennsylvania comes with many negative consequences:  a criminal record, hefty fines and court costs, and a suspension of your operating privileges.  In May 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed a bill that will provide a little bit more flexibility for those individuals convicted of a 1st DUI offense.

Under the current DUI sentencing structure in Pennsylvania, an individual convicted of a first offense DUI with a BAC of 0.08 and 0.10, or a General Impairment DUI, would not have their driver’s license suspended by PennDOT.  However, if the Defendant was convicted of a DUI that was high rate (0.10 to 0.16) or highest rate (0.16 and above), the individual’s driver’s license would be suspended for a mandatory period of twelve (12) months.  On a side note, in that period of suspension, if the individual were to be caught and convicted for Driving of a Suspended License, he or she would be facing a MANDATORY 60 days of incarceration.

Realizing that people have to work and provide for their families, the new law signed by Governor Wolf allows individuals whose licenses would normally be suspended for a first offense DUI to avoid the suspension.  To avoid the suspension, the person convicted of DUI would have to apply for an Ignition Interlock License (IIL), which would allow the individual to drive their vehicle so long as it is equipped with the proper equipment.  The equipment in the vehicle ensures that the driver is not operating under the influence of alcohol.  The IIL would allow people to drive as they normally do, which provides greater freedoms that the Occupational Limited License (OLL), which used to be the only (legal) way to drive if your license was suspended.  And with the OLL, you could only drive for employment purposes.

This new law will take effect in August of 2017, so if you find yourself in a position charged with DUI where a conviction is likely, or you have already been convicted and would like to get an IIL, contact us at Chan & Associates, and we can help you through the process.