Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed a bill into law that provides for an “Ignition Interlock Limited License” as well as the ability for first time offenders to avoid license suspension by using an ignition interlock. SB 290 has been signed into law as of May 25, 2016, and will now be known as 2016 Act 33. Sponsor of the bill, Sen. John Rafferty, R-Berks, stated, “Similar laws are in place in 15 states, and according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, recidivism rates have dropped by as much as 60 percent.” This bill will take into effect by August of 2017.

Under the bill, first-time DUI drivers convicted with BAC readings between 0.10 percent and 0.15 percent could avoid the normal one-year license suspension they face by seeking a new ignition interlock license. The special license would permit driving when a breath-testing device is used that prevents the engine from starting if the driver’s breath test measures above the BAC standard, allowing first-time offenders to drive and maintain jobs rather than have a suspended license. If you have been admitted into your county’s ARD program, this does not apply to you as your license suspension time will typically only be for 30-60 days.

The bill also modifies the Occupational Limited License (OLL) statute to exclude issuance of an OLL when there is a violation of Pennsylvania’s DUI statutes or if there is a refusal to submit to chemical testing. So, the only option under Pennsylvania law in order to drive before the one-year license suspension ends under these circumstances would be to apply for the new Ignition Interlock Limited License.

Ignition Interlock Licenses have a red banner that contain the words “Limited License” along with a red map of Pennsylvania in the lower right corner stating the type of limitation—in this case it will say “Ignition Interlock” inside the map.

What can you do if you cannot afford the ignition interlock system? Individuals whose income is below 200% of the poverty level may apply for a Hardship Exemption. The hardship exemption allows the individual to have it installed in only one vehicle. Individuals who own no vehicles will be able to comply with the ignition interlock requirement by having an ignition interlock vendor certify that they own no vehicles and apply for the ignition interlock license.

It is important to note that if you choose to apply for the Ignition Interlock Limited License, you must have that license and the ignition interlock hardware for one year from the date when the license was issued and not from the date of the initial license suspension. You must also keep and maintain this hardware during that time period; failure to do so could result in an extension of the ignition interlock period as well as other fines and costs.

If a person with an ignition interlock limited license is required in the course and scope of employment to drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a motor vehicle owned by the person’s employer for an employment exemption, that person may operate the vehicle after certain prerequisites are met. Your employer must be notified that you have the ignition interlock restriction and you must carry proof of your employer’s notification of the restriction. Note that this does not apply to school bus drivers, or if the employer owned motor vehicle is made available to the employee for personal use.

This act also officially limits chemical testing by breath or blood only for the purpose of determining the alcoholic concentration of blood or the presence of a controlled substance. Previously, the law also provided for chemical tests by urinalysis. This is due to the recent unfavorable court rulings which have cast doubt on the accuracy and admissibility of urine as a determinant for blood alcohol content.

Hiring the right attorney who can give you the right advice can make all the difference in the world. If you find yourself arrested for a DUI, make sure you have a capable attorney on your side.

Attorney Brandon H. Zanan will be aggressive and will fight to make sure that your rights are protected so that you and your family can move on with your lives.

Call (610) 489-3300 for a FREE consultation.

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