When people talk about the criminal consequences of an impaired driving charge in Pennsylvania, they almost always focus on jail time and financial fines, as well as worrying about a criminal record. While a criminal record, incarceration and financial consequences can have a negative impact on your life, people focused on jail and fines are overlooking a third, very significant consequence of impaired driving.
Specifically, the state of Pennsylvania has the legal authority to revoke or temporarily suspend your driver's license depending on the nature of the impaired driving infraction. Everything from whether you caused a collision to your previous impaired driving criminal convictions will impact how long you lose your license for.
Not being able to drive can cause a lot of hardships. Public transportation isn't reliable enough for those with jobs or children. Thankfully, the state of Pennsylvania has a program that can help you maintain your mobility when facing impaired driving charges.
Drivers who lose their license can apply for a limited license
If you are not familiar with Pennsylvania's limited license program, you may be surprised to learn that even those who get their license suspended by the courts can regain the right to drive to certain places. A limited license will typically limit where you can drive and the hours of day you can legally operate a vehicle.
More importantly, for those dealing with impaired driving connections, the limited license will typically also include a requirement for an ignition interlock device. Although there are costs and frustrations involved with a limited license, having a diminished legal right to drive is better than having no right at all.
What is an ignition interlock device?
If you've never heard the term before, an ignition interlock device may sound frightening or intimidating. Truthfully, these devices are effectively small breath test machines the state requires you to install in your vehicle.
Every time you start your vehicle, you will have to perform a test to show that you don't have alcohol in your system. The unit may also require occasional tests while you drive. If you fail a test, the device will keep your car from starting. The intention of installing an ignition interlock device relates to preventing those with drunk driving offenses from getting behind the wheel again after drinking.
If you try to drive a car that does not have an ignition interlock device installed, you could face serious consequences if you get pulled over. Not only could you lose your limited license, but you could face additional penalties for violating the terms of that license. If you hope to resume driving sooner rather than later, talk with a Langhorne attorney about your option for seeking a limited license.