At the end of December, a new law targeting repeat DUI offenders went into effect in Pennsylvania. According to The Daily Local News, the new law increases criminal penalties for those convicted of three or more DUIs.
Repeat offenders may be charged with a felony
For people arrested for a third DUI in a ten-year period, they face a felony charge, if their BAC is .16 or higher. Anyone arrested for a fourth DUI will also be charged with a felony.
Law aims to keep repeat offenders off the road
Before Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill, Pennsylvania was one of only four states that did not charge repeat DUI offenses as a felony. Sen. Scott Martin and former Sen. John Rafferty championed the bill through the legislative process. Martin stated he was glad the new law would “help keep habitual offenders off the road and behind bars.”
Increased jail time for those convicted of homicide by vehicle
The law also increased jail time for those convicted of homicide by vehicle. For people with a prior DUI conviction, they will be sentenced to a minimum of five years in jail. Individuals who have two or more DUI convictions and cause a fatal accident will be sentenced to at least seven years in jail. The law also includes harsher penalties for people caught driving while their license is suspended for a DUI.
If you were arrested for a third or fourth DUI, consider reaching out to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. The court system starts working against you quickly, and you need time to build a defense against these accusations. An attorney can try to get your charges reduced or call into question evidence being used against you. With substantial jail time on the line, you want the best possible defense against these charges.