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In Pennsylvania, driving under the influence carries some significant legal penalties. A DUI conviction, though, is also tremendously inconvenient.

One of the major inconveniences is having to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Here are some things you should know about interlock devices in the Keystone State.

Interlock devices 

An interlock device is a small machine that connects to a vehicle’s ignition system. If you install one on your car, truck or SUV, you cannot start its engine until you provide an alcohol-free breath sample. To keep any interlock device operating correctly, you must regularly take it to a professional for service and calibration.

Pennsylvania’s installation requirement 

If you have a blood alcohol concentration between 0.10% and 0.159% during your first-time DUI arrest, a judge is likely to suspend your driving privileges for a full calendar year. You may be able to shorten this suspension to six months by installing an interlock device in every vehicle you operate. If you have a second or subsequent DUI, you can also expect to install a court-ordered interlock device before you earn your driving privileges back.

The cost of interlock devices 

With court costs and legal fees, DUI charges can be extremely expensive. Unfortunately, the cost of interlock devices adds to the overall expense of any DUI arrest. In Pennsylvania, installation typically runs between $75 and $150. You also have to pay a $65 licensing fee. Even worse, interlock devices usually cost roughly $100 per month to rent. Keep in mind that you may have interlock equipment in your vehicle for a year or longer.

If you drink and drive anywhere in Pennsylvania, you may eventually find yourself defending DUI charges. While losing your driving privileges may be a consequence of drunk driving, an interlock device may be an effective but expensive way to stay on the road.