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New Pennsylvania drunk driving laws to take effect

Pennsylvania lawmakers have realized that punishment of some crimes often results in the commission of additional crimes. New laws are to take effect this month regarding drunk driving cases. Lawmakers are hopeful that the new laws will lower offenses and prevent repeated cases of driving under the influence.

Currently, if a person is accused and convicted of a first time drunk driving offense, his or her license will be suspended. The license suspension was likely meant to prevent repeated offenses of drunk driving, but it often prevents offenders from working, providing for their families and managing daily activities. Authorities report that convicted offenders often illegally drive on their suspended license to continue living theirs lives, which results in committing an additional offense.

Under the new laws, first time convicted offenders with a blood alcohol level of .01 to .15 may choose to drive with an ignition interlock device. The device will require offenders to blow into the device and will only allow the vehicle to operate if no alcohol is detected. Lawmakers are hopeful that the devices will not only allow offenders to continue with their lives, but hope it will reduce the amount of drunk driving and illegal driving on a suspended license. The devices do come at a cost, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is passing the cost on to offenders. The device could cost offenders as much as $1,700 per year.

With changing laws and consequences, persons accused of drunk driving could find it beneficial to speak with an attorney. Attorneys will be well aware of the changes in the law and how they can impact a defendant's case. In best case scenarios, attorneys can advise some defendants how to avoid a conviction altogether.

Source: publicopiniononline.com, "Ignition-interlock rule lets more DUI offenders get back on the road earlier," Becky Metrick, Aug. 6, 2017

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