Pennsylvania Experiencing Another Push to Make DUI Law Stricter

It has been about a year since Pennsylvania changed the drunk driving laws in the state for the first time in a decade yet the laws may be made even more strict due to advocates in Lancaster pushing for stricter law. Advocates argue that there need to be adequate penalties for repeat offenders to further deter the behavior. A new bill was introduced mid-April this year that would mandate a person with more than two DUI convictions in a 10-year period would be sentenced to a minimum of two years in prison and have a maximum fine of $15,000.

Currently, the sentence for a second DUI conviction is only 10 days in prison. The new legislation also aims to have the offender to be charged with felony homicide if their actions result in the death of another person, particularly when they have more than two prior offenses before the accident occurs. Nationally, Pennsylvania ranks among the worst for drunk driving laws, leading to a yearlong effort to help strengthen the laws that aim to deter drivers from operating their vehicle while intoxicated.

State lawmakers have put out more than 20 proposed changes to help the fight against drink driving in a two-year legislation that ended in December of 2016. These efforts ranged from education options to prevention and even the stricter sentencing discussed in this blog. However, only one piece of legislation passed into law, which was a requirement for most first time DUI offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle after a conviction.

Advocates argue that this law is a good first step but does not cover the real issues surrounding Pennsylvania drunk driving law. An advocacy group formed in the months leading to the legislation for the interlock device being passed of families that have lost loved ones too young due to drunk drivers. The group is currently supporting 13 bills that were introduced this year. The bills would have stricter penalties for drunk driving or give better preventative measures against the crime.

As it stands, legislators feel there is a desire to move forward with the felony-upgrade bill but the timeline for passing the bill is currently unclear. The current goal by some legislators is to have the bill passed by this upcoming fall, meaning drivers in Pennsylvania should look out for headlines about the bill in the coming months.

If you have been charged with a DUI, contact our team today. With new laws coming to pass in the state, it pays to have a knowledgeable team on your side.