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Another Domino Falls: PA Is Next State To Propose Tougher First-Time DUI Penalties

Recently, two Pennsylvania State legislators have co-sponsored DUI legislation that seeks to increase penalties for first-time DUI offenders. This new law would require certain first-time DUI offenders to place an ignition interlock device on any car owned or operated by the offender.

The ignition interlock device is installed on a vehicle at the owner’s expense.  Once installed, the driver must blow into an attachment linked to the ignition before the vehicle is started and during its operation.  If a certain amount of alcohol is present in the breath sample, then the vehicle does not start or shuts down once started.

On April 14, 2010, the United States Senate heard testimony about nationwide ignition interlock device legislation.  The potential U.S. interlock legislation would require each state to pass a law mandating that anyone convicted of a drunk driving offense install the device on a vehicle. Otherwise, highway funds that the U.S. government annually distributes to the states would be partially withheld.

This type of legislation is similar to other DUI legislation Congress enacted in the past.  Congress passed DUI legislation in 2000 requiring states to adopt a .08% blood alcohol concentration legal standard for drunk driving in order to continuing receiving Department of Transportation funds.

States, such as New Jersey, New York, Arizona, and New Mexico, have lately passed harsher DUI laws consistent with the ignition interlock laws contemplated by Pennsylvania and Congress.

 

Leckerman