When you’re charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in Pennsylvania, the court might order you to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on all your vehicles for up to a year. The devices act like breathalyzers, preventing you from starting your car if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels are too high.
However, there are a couple of circumstances when the court can exempt you from installing an IID on your automobile.
Financial hardship exemption
If your income is 200% below the poverty level, you can apply for a hardship exemption from the IID requirement. Note that this exemption only reduces the need to install IIDs on all your vehicles to just one vehicle. This might be useful for drivers with another car they use for their family business.
The court might allow you to operate vehicles your employer owns without needing an IID, but only for work. To request this exemption, you must notify your employer of the IID restriction and have proof of employer notification on a form authorized by Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation.
For convicted drivers without cars
While not exactly an exemption, drivers charged with DUI who don’t own a car must show proof that they have no vehicle and still carry an ignition interlock license. Whether you borrowed a friend’s car or rented one during the offense, the court will ask you to complete an ignition interlock self-certification form. You must then take the form to an IID vendor, who will check the state’s motor vehicle database to ensure you don’t have vehicles under your name. The vendor will then notify the Department of Transportation to issue you an ignition interlock license.
It can be frustrating to use IIDs constantly to drive, on top of dealing with a DUI conviction and the fines and jail time that come with it. Consider consulting with a legal professional if you’re facing a DUI charge. An attorney may be able to reduce the penalties you face and help you apply for any exemptions you may be eligible for.