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Pennsylvania’s Senate Bill 290 has become law as it was signed by the governor on May 25. This legislation, slated to go into effect in 2017, requires that first-time DUI offenders with blood alcohol levels of .10 or higher have their vehicles outfitted with ignition interlock units. This type of system prevents the starting of a vehicle if, when it is blown into, it indicates that the prospective driver has a BAC in excess of a programmed level.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, ignition interlock systems have a significant impact on driving safety in the state, preventing nearly 80,000 attempts to drive in Pennsylvania under the influence between October 2003 and December 2015. While society as a whole benefits, the new law that was described in an earlier blog prior to its signing by Gov. Wolf also has important advantages for those facing their first drunk driving charges. Previously, licenses have been suspended in such cases, affecting the ability of those penalized to handle daily activities related to family life and work. The new law makes it possible for these parties to continue to drive while minimizing the potential for DUI accidents and offenses.

In facing DUI charges, an individual might wonder about the accuracy of breath or blood testing. In addition to chemical testing, an official might conduct a field sobriety test to evaluate a driver’s potential intoxication. However, the subjective nature of such tests could result in an inaccurate assessment of a driver’s condition. Chemical testing is often used to substantiate field sobriety results, but faulty equipment or methods could impact the readings.

In mounting a defense in a DUI case, a defendant might not be aware of potential problems such as the custody of blood samples or the conditions in which a test has been administered. An experienced DUI lawyer could be helpful in challenging such evidence.