Locked out? What happens after the DUI?

You were sure they were wrong. After you got a DUI eight years ago, you swore you would never drink and drive again. You had learned your lesson: A hike in insurance, a suspension of your license and a bundle in lawyer fees.

So when you got pulled over again for driving under the influence, you were sure it was all a big mistake. You’d only had two drinks. Sure you were a little sleepy, but you also had been up late the night before working on a report due the next morning. You had skipped lunch before you headed to a company happy hour, and had munched on celery sticks when you got there because everything else was laden with grease.

Two glasses of wine hardly seemed enough to put you over the legal limit, but there it was staring back at you from the breathalyzer: A reading of .09

And now what?

Not only are you facing the same financial problems you faced last time, since it is your second DUI, you are now also required to install an interlock ignition on your car. What can you expect?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, once you’re eligible for license reinstatement, PennDOT will send you an application for the “Ignition Interlock License.” This license is designated as “limited” and it requires that you drive only vehicles that are fitted with an interlock ignition.

You are required to apply for this license even if you do not own or lease a vehicle. The license restriction will be in effect for one year. If you drive a company vehicle for work, your employer may apply for an exemption for you. You will, however, still be restricted to interlock-equipped vehicles when you are not at work.

What will it cost?

Costs for interlock ignition vary. If, however, you cannot afford one, you may be able to apply for a hardship exemption. In order to qualify for the exemption, your adjusted gross income must be below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For households of one person, that limit is $21, 664. For a family of four, the income limit is $44,100.

Driving under the influence can have serious financial consequences that may also have ancillary affects on family relationships and employment. No one sets out to get a DUI, but planning a sober ride in advance can assure you that you will never face charges and ensure your financial stability for years to come.

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Theodore H. Swan, Jr., Attorney at Law
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