The state of Pennsylvania has strict laws in place when it comes to drinking and driving. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, or, conversely, a college student attending school in the state, it is important to know the penalties that you may face should authorities charge and convict you of driving under the influence.

In addition to having to pay fines and potentially spend time behind bars, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, even if you are a first-time DUI offender. Ignition interlock devices, per the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, prevent your vehicle from starting until you provide an appropriate breath sample.

Who has to have one, and for how long?

Laws require those who receive a DUI conviction in Pennsylvania to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles, regardless of whether they are first-time or repeat offenders. Typically, you should expect to have the device remain on your vehicle for a year after you regain the right to drive. If, however, you tamper with your device or drive a vehicle without an ignition interlock device during this period, you should expect to have to keep it on your car for another full year, starting from the day you receive your conviction.

How much does the system cost you?

Unfortunately, it is up to you to finance your own ignition interlock device, and this may cost you considerably over time. While the final costs vary depending on the vendor you select, estimates suggest that you should plan to pay somewhere in the ballpark of $900 to $1,300 annually.

A drunk driving conviction is almost always costly. Some of the expenses stemming from it are going to stay with you well into the future.