With the school year starting in State College, all students should be aware of how serious drunk driving is and take steps to prevent it. Drunk driving carries a variety of heavy penalties attached to it, in addition to the risks inherent with getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. One of these penalties is ignition interlock devices.

Like all states in the country, Pennsylvania has ignition interlock requirements for certain classes of DUI convictions. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, first-time DUI offenders with very high blood alcohol levels, persons who refuse chemical testing and repeat DUI offenders must participate in the ignition interlock program.

Ignition interlock: what is it?

An ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer that a third party company installs in your vehicle. In order to start the vehicle, you will need to breathe into the device to prove that you have not been consuming alcoholic beverages.

Additionally, you must breathe into the IID at certain times while the car is in operation. This proves that you have not drunk alcoholic beverages since turning the vehicle on.

How long must I have an ignition interlock device?

The length of time you must have an IID in your vehicle depends on the details pursuant to your particular case and the charges associated with it. Failure to comply with the ignition interlock program could potentially mean you losing your driving privileges entirely, or result in a longer period of time you must have the device in your car. Additionally, all costs associated with maintaining the IID are your responsibility, and this can be expensive. If you are facing DUI charges as a college student, discussing your situation with a legal professional can be helpful to understand your options and the process to come.