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: Pennsylvania has third most lenient DUI laws

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2015 | Drunk Driving

Hardly a year passes without one or more states increasing the severity of penalties for drunk driving. Pennsylvanians may wonder how their state stacks up against the other 49 on the severity of its DUI penalties. The results may surprise some readers of this blog.

According to a survey recently completed by a financial services company, Pennsylvania has the third most lenient set of drunk driving laws in the United States. The only states with more lenient DUI laws were the District of Columbia and South Dakota. The survey looked at each state’s criminal penalties and DUI prevention methods to arrive at its rankings.

This blog does not have adequate space to list the complete results for Pennsylvania, but a few points are worth mentioning. Pennsylvania has no minimum sentence for a first offense and only a 5-day minimum for a second offense. A DUI is not an automatic felony and does not lead to an administrative license suspension. Mandatory use of an ignition interlock device is not imposed until the second offense.

The relative leniency of Pennsylvania’s DUI laws does not necessarily mean that the state has a disproportionately high number of drunk drivers. According to experts, drunk driving is reduced more by an effective system for detecting and arresting drunk drivers than the relative severity of the punishment for such crimes.

Regardless of whether Pennsylvania’s DUI laws may be deemed harsh or lenient, a conviction for DUI can entail potentially severe penalties, ranging from a relatively small fine to jail time. Anyone facing such charges may wish to consult a lawyer specializing in such cases for an analysis of the facts and an evaluation of potential outcomes, including the chance of obtaining an acquittal.

Source:, “Pennsylvania Named Third Most Lenient State On DUI,” Justin Heinze, June 16, 2015

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Anchor Text: DUI

Keywords: penalties, jail time, ignition interlock device

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