This article was originally published on Erie News Now by Brittany Lauffer on Aug 14, 2017 

First-time DUI offenders will soon have a new punishment if convicted.

Last year, Governor Tom Wolf signed the Pennsylvania Ignition Interlock Law, that will allow offenders to keep their driver’s license instead of facing the usual suspension.

“If you are a first time DUI offender, and your blood alcohol concentration is at a high rate, which is a 0.1 or above, you’ll be required to get an ignition interlock system for at least one year,” said Patrolman Michael Sorokes of the Millcreek Township Police Department.

“There’s a machine that gets installed on your car, and before your car starts up, you have to blow into it, and it can tell what your blood alcohol level is,” explained State Representative Brad Roae, 6th District.

The offender will have to apply to PennDOT for an ignition interlock license, that will be easily recognized by law enforcement, and then have the system installed. They can drive to work, school, or other necessary locations.

The device typically hooks up under your steering wheel, and the car won’t start if you’ve been drinking. The device will cost about 1000 dollars.

“Hopefully it will serve its purpose and deter people from driving after they’ve been drinking, so hopefully it’ll help protect the public and safeguard the public against repeating their offenses,” said Sorokes.

If the defendant drives an employer-owned vehicle for work, they can fill out an application for PennDOT to waive that requirement.

For those who are accepted into the ARD program, or the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, the device is not required. If accepted, and you finish that program, your case will be dismissed and the record of your arrest will be expunged.

The new law takes effect Friday, August 25th.