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Proposed Pennsylvania law would make DUI penalties stiffer

Charges associated with drunk driving are unquestionably serious and can carry stiff penalties and consequences.

Proposed legislation in Pennsylvania would make penalties for repeat drunk drivers, and for those who are involved in a fatal accident while driving under the influence, stiffer. Under the proposed law, felony DUI penalties would apply to a third DUI conviction in 10 years; a third high blood alcohol content (BAC) offense of .16 BAC or higher, and to a fourth offense in all other cases. Currently, Pennsylvania does not treat repeat DUIs as a felony offense regardless of the number of prior DUI convictions the accused individual has.

In addition, penalties for homicide by vehicle why under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI or DUID) would increase to a minimum 3-year sentence regardless of the DUI history of the accused individual. If the accused individual is convicted of a prior DUI, and is involved in an accident involving death, the minimum prison sentence they will face under the new law is 5 years. If the person is convicted of 2 prior DUIs, and involved in an accident involving death, the minimum prison sentence they will face under the new law is 7 years. The proposed law also includes an increase in penalties for driving under a suspended license for a previous DUI conviction.

There are additional changes to the law as well in the proposed bill which has been sent from the state Senate to the House. Individuals accused of drunk driving face significant potential penalties and consequences which can include jail or prison time, fines, license suspension and other potential penalties and consequences. Given the law under consideration, potential penalties and consequences could go up. Because the impact of a drunk driving charge can be significant and lasting, it is important for accused individuals to be familiar with their criminal defense rights.

It is essential for accused individuals to understand the charges against them, the facts as alleged by authorities, police conduct and other aspects of the charges they are facing which should all be carefully examined. Forming a strong criminal defense strategy is important when accused individuals face the high penalties and consequences associated with drunk driving charges.

Source: Daily Local News, "State Senate bill would increase penalties for repeat DUI offenders," Ginger Dunbar April 21, 2018

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