If you are a Pennsylvania college student age 21 or older, it's not necessarily illegal for you to consume alcohol then drive. Most traffic safety analysts would agree that it's not a good idea; however, just because you do it, does not necessarily mean you are breaking the law. Of course, it's one thing to have a beer with friends after classes let out for the weekend on campus and quite another to get inebriated at a frat party then try to drive yourself home.
If a police officer happens to pull you over after you've imbibed alcohol, not only your college career, but your job and your entire life may bear negative consequences, especially if the officer charges you with DUI and the court hands down a conviction. In this state, such circumstances may lead to you being required to install an ignition interlock device in your car before you can drive again.
What is it, how does it work and who has to use it?
An ignition interlock device is a portable breath test apparatus that detects alcohol in your breath. When it's installed in your vehicle, your car won't start if you use the device and fail the test. The following list provides other basic facts and information regarding the interlock device program here in Pennsylvania:
- If you refuse to take a breath test or other chemical test during a traffic stop when a police officer has lawfully requested that you do so, you may be required to install an interlock device in your car even if you weren't intoxicated while driving.
- Even after a first time conviction for DUI, you may still have to install one of these devices in your vehicle.
- You may be able to bypass using the device in a work vehicle if your employer is willing to file an affidavit on your behalf. However, certain stipulations would make you ineligible, such as if the vehicle you drive at work is a school bus, a vehicle that carries 15 or more passengers at a time or a vehicle that you are a part owner of or use for personal travel.
- If the state orders you to install an ignition interlock device, you must obtain it from a state-approved vendor.
- The vendor will be obligated to sign a Declaration of Compliance form showing that you have not violated the strict regulations governing the ignition interlock device system in any way.
Hopefully, you'll never have to know what's it like to drive around campus with an ignition interlock device installed in your car.
The right knowledge can make a difference
If you do run into a problem during a traffic stop and wind up facing DUI charges, you'll likely be one step ahead of the game if you research DUI laws ahead of time and secure legal assistance before heading to court.