What once started as a pleasant evening out could easily take a turn for the worse if drunk driving is involved. However, there are gray areas in which a driver gets behind the wheel after only one drink, all while maintaining good judgment and control. Despite the minor effects just one drink can have on the body, Pennsylvania’s drunk driving laws can be incredibly severe. 

Like most states, Pennsylvania has little sympathy for drunk driving cases; yet changes to state laws have already taken place. As the York Daily Record shared last August, modifications to Pennsylvania’s DUI laws potentially hold drivers more accountable for their actions. Instead of an immediate license suspension, drivers who face their first drunk driving charge of .10 percent blood alcohol concentration or higher now have the choice to use an ignition interlock device instead. Because these devices provide breathalyzer tests each time the driver gets behind the wheel, lawmakers are confident that the state will see an improvement in its number of drunk driving arrests. Drivers also now have the option to complete an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition upon receiving a drunk driving charge.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation outlines the state’s updated ignition interlock laws, clarifying that such devices are mandatory when a driver has violated drunk driving laws and receives a suspension to their license. If an individual has committed a prior drunk driving offense within the last 10 years, they could face more serious penalties. Drivers charged with DUI offenses must also use the interlock device for one year, beginning on the date of the offense. Just as one case can differ from the next, the DOT’s website lists further details on the varying ignition interlock system plans, the cost of these devices and the additional guidelines that may apply.