Part of the beauty and frustration of the law is that it is fluid and changes often. State legislatures, including the one here in Pennsylvania, pass new laws or amend others when needed. One of the most recent laws moving through the state’s legislature has to do with repeat DUI offenders.
At present, if someone dies in an alcohol-related accident, the drunk driver who caused the crash faces mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years regardless of whether the driver has prior convictions for DUI. Under the new bill that just passed the state Senate, if someone has a prior conviction for DUI on his or her record, that mandatory sentence increases to five years. Someone with two or more prior convictions faces a mandatory sentence of seven years under these circumstances.
If more than one person dies in an accident caused by someone driving under the influence, those mandatory sentences are to be served consecutively (one after the other) and not concurrently (at the same time). The bill also provides for certain repeat DUI offenders to face a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances involved. This bill now goes to the state’s House for consideration.
If this bill passes and is signed into law, it could greatly affect the futures of repeat DUI offenders involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. Criminal defense attorneys across Pennsylvania will be keeping a close eye on this particular piece of legislation in order to better serve their clients should it pass. Of course, regardless of whether this law passes or not, the penalties associated with drunk driving remain serious, and anyone accused of such an offense would more than likely benefit from obtaining assistance with finding the best resolution possible under the circumstances.
Source: U.S. News and World Report, “Pennsylvania Senate OKs Bill Targeting Repeat DUI Offenders“, April 18, 2018