How To Keep Your License When Convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania–New DUI Law

DUI, Driver’s License Suspensions, and Limited Licenses Pennsylvania has created a new law which may allow persons convicted of DUI to still drive during the time that their license is otherwise suspended. Those who have been convicted of DUI, or entered the ARD program for a DUI, may be able to continue to drive their vehicle if they have an Ignition Interlock device installed and obtain an ignition interlock limited license from PennDOT. Determining if you are eligible can be tricky, as the law is very confusing. We strongly suggest you consult with Attorney Hopkins about your DUI case, and he will help you determine if you can keep driving.

Determining Eligibility for an Ignition Interlock Limited License (IILL)  

Once you discover you are eligible, you must obtain an ignition interlock limited license (IILL) from PennDOT before you can drive. The application process under the new ignition interlock law can be very confusing. In order to avoid problems with your IILL application, you should follow the steps below:

  1. A couple weeks after your DUI sentencing, or entry into ARD, you will receive a suspension letter from PennDOT officially notifying you of the license suspension.
  2. Surrender your license to PennDOT. You can do this by certified mail or by taking your license and suspension letter to your local PennDOT license center. Always get a receipt.
  3. Select an ignition interlock vendor. I suggest you go to the Pa DUI Association website at and click on the Ignition Interlock Vendors link in the middle of the homepage, or call 1-800-627-2384. Attorney Hopkins has partnered with a major ignition interlock vendor which allows his client’s to qualify for a free basic installation and first month free, when their suspension is 12 months or longer.
  4. Contact the vendor of your choice to schedule an appointment to install the ignition interlock device. There will be an installation fee and a monthly equipment rental fee. Installation fees may vary from vendors, so shop around. Currently, the average costs associated with renting an Ignition Interlock system is between $900 to $1,300 per year.
  5. Prior to taking your vehicle for the install, you need to complete two PennDOT forms: The IILL Petition (DL-9108) and Self Certification of Vehicles to be Completed form (DL-9108SC). You can download these directly from the PennDOT website.
  6. On the day of the install, take with you the PennDot suspension letter and the forms from step 5. Have the vendor install the ignition interlock device and complete Section D of the self-certification form (DL-9108SC). The vendor will keep a copy and return the original form to you.
  7. The completed DL-9108, DL-9108SC must be filed by certified mail and must include the $65 application fee, and any other required fees. Everything gets sent to the following address:
    “Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Driver Licensing Restorations Unit, Ignition Interlock License
    P.O. Box 68273
    Harrisburg, PA 17106-8273″
  8. Within 3 to 4 weeks of receiving your petition, PennDOT will inform you in writing of whether you are eligible for an IILL.

Damon C. Hopkins–DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyer

If you find yourself in need of a DUI/DWI attorney and are located anywhere in Erie County, Pennsylvania, including the City of Erie, Corry, Fairview, Girard, Harborcreek, Millcreek, North East, or any other surrounding areas, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Attorney Hopkins understand that you’re in a difficult place and need a lawyer that cares about you, your unique circumstances, and will give you honest, straightforward advice about potential outcomes and how to proceed. Having worked as a criminal prosecutor for eight years, he has the knowledge and litigation experience to provide spectacular representation to clients in need of legal assistance in criminal defense, DUI/DWI, juvenile delinquency, and traffic violations.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation for your DUI charges

How To Obtain A Protection From Abuse Order(PFA) in PA

In order to obtain a Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) in PA, the following steps must be completed:

  • Must fall under the qualifications of obtaining a PFA in Pennsylvania
  • Fill out a request for a PFA at your County’s PFA office
  • Appear briefly in person before a judge who will grant or deny your PFA on a temporary basis
  • Attend the Final Hearing on your PFA where you & your attorney present evidence OR the defendant consents to the granting of the PFA

The PFA process is intended to provide relief for a victim from his or her abuser. Many individuals relate Protection from Abuse Orders (“PFA”) to Restraining Orders. In fact, those terms are often used interchangeably. However, the PFA process is not considered part of the criminal system, and a restraining order is. While criminal charges can come from actions leading to a PFA, the PFA process itself is civil. Attorney Damon C. Hopkins has dedicated over two decades of his life to serving those involved with PFA’s, needing to get a PFA, or defending people who have been wrongfully accused and been served a temporary PFA in Erie, Harborcreek, Cory, Girard, and surrounding areas in PA. As a PFA attorney, Damon C. Hopkins has experience working with the PFA laws in Pennsylvania and devotes his time and effort to find the best solution for every case.

What are the Requirements to Obtain a PFA in Pennsylvania?

There is a common misconception that any individual can obtain a PFA against another individual. In reality, only a specific group of people can obtain a PFA against someone who harasses them. PFA’s are administered under two Pennsylvania statutory sections, which determines the PFA’s reach and limitations. The two Pennsylvania statutory sections are:

  • “Domestic Abuse” situations
  • “Sexual Violence by a Stranger” situations

Domestic Relations

Pennsylvania law, specifically 23 Pa.C.S. Section 6102, defines “Abuse,” “Victim,” and other terms for the reader to clearly understand the text of the law. With doing so, the Protection from Abuse statute dictates who can request a PFA in PA. In order to obtain a PFA, the abuser must have been one of the following to the victim:

  • A family or household members
  • A sexual or intimate partners
  • A person who share biological parenthood

Thus, the “Domestic Relations” section does not allow a PFA to be ordered against a stranger, co-worker, etc.

Section 6102 also dictates under what circumstances a PFA can be given. In Pennsylvania, a PA PFA can be given only when the perpetrator has engaged the victim in one or more of the following:

  • Attempting to cause or intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury, serious bodily injury, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault or incest with or without a deadly weapon.
  • Placing another in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
  • The infliction of false imprisonment pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. Section 2903 (relating to false imprisonment).
  • Physically or sexually abusing minor children, including such terms as defined in Chapter 63 (relating to child protective services).
  • Knowingly engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts toward another person, including following the person, without proper authority, under circumstances which place the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. The definition of this paragraph applies only to proceedings commenced under this title and is inapplicable to any criminal prosecutions commenced under Title 18(relating to crimes and offenses.)

Sexual Violence by a Stranger

Pennsylvania broadened its PFA law on July 15, 2015, through statute at 42 Pa.C.S. section 62A01. Section 62A01 protects victims of “sexual violence” or “intimidation.” “Sexual violence” is defined as “conduct constituting a crime under any of the following provisions between persons who are not family or household members.” Meanwhile, “intimidation” is defined as “conduct constituting a crime under either of the following provisions between persons who are not family or household members”(Pennsylvania General Assembly.) “Sexual violence” and “intimidation” relates to various sexual crimes and covers sexual crimes that occur outside of family or household members, which the domestic relations section does not address. In short, unlike domestic relations situations, sexual violence by a stranger situations protects non-family or household members.

The Process of Requesting a PFA in Pennsylvania

The process for obtaining a PFA in Pennsylvania is relatively quick. Nevertheless, each county follows a different process to receive a PFA order. For example, Erie County in a non-emergency situation will have a victim go to the PFA office and request a Protection from Abuse Order. A judge will determine to grant or deny a temporary Protection from Abuse Order. Whether denied or granted, the victim and the alleged perpetrator will have a right to a hearing for a final determination to be made. Assuming a temporary order is issued, the temporary PFA will last up to 10 days, within which time a Judge schedules a final hearing where both sides will present their positions and evidence. To obtain a PFA in Erie County, PA, go to Erie County’s Office of Protection from Abuse.

Advantages of Consenting to a PFA

It is important to note that the two parties, typically through their attorneys, can avoid a PFA hearing and agree to the terms and length of the PFA, the maximum still being three years. Reaching an agreement without a trial can benefit both the victim and the perpetrator. The victim does not risk the Judge dismissing the PFA, obtains a court order making the PFA final for his or her protection, and avoids having to testify. The alleged perpetrator does not admit to any of the underlying PFA facts and is merely agreeing to stay away from the victim. Overall, PFA’s can have significant effects on both the victim and the alleged perpetrator’s life. Contact Attorney Damon C. Hopkins for an experienced PFA Lawyer to represent you in Pennsylvania.

Choosing PFA Attorney Damon C. Hopkins

Attorney Hopkins understands that each PFA case is unique and he takes the time to understand your particular situation and will develop solutions that meet your needs. As both a fighter and fixer, Damon C. Hopkins possesses a sophisticated legal knowledge that allows him to handle a wide range of legal matters. If you find yourself in need of an attorney to help obtain a PFA or defend against one, and are located anywhere in Erie County, Pennsylvania, including the City of Erie, Corry, Fairview, Girard, Harborcreek, Millcreek, North East, or any other surrounding areas, it is important to remember that you are not alone. At Hopkins Law, we understand that you’re in a difficult situation and need a PFA lawyer that cares about you and gives you honest, straightforward advice about potential outcomes and how to proceed.