Pennsylvania lawmakers adopted new DUI laws that increase the penalties for some DUI offenses throughout the state. Senate Bill 961 was passed by both chambers of the state legislature and was signed into law by Governor Wolf last year. The new laws increasing DUI penalties went into effect on December 23, 2018.
If you are charged with a DUI offense in the greater Erie area, it is in your best interest to discuss your charges with an Erie DUI attorney before making any decisions. An Erie DUI attorney can advise you of your legal rights and potential legal defenses that may help you avoid the harsh drunk driving penalties now in force throughout Pennsylvania.
Call The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to request a free legal consultation with an experienced DUI attorney in Erie.
Tough Laws and Harsher Penalties for Drunk Driving In Pennsylvania
Senate Bill 961 changed drunk driving laws in Pennsylvania in many ways. Penalties for many DUI offenses have increased. Many individuals charged with drunk driving in PA will face an increased sentencing structure if they are convicted.
Three important changes to Pennsylvania DUI laws that you need to be aware of include:
Vehicular Homicide Now Has Mandatory Minimum Sentences
If you have certain DUI offenses on your record when you are convicted of vehicular homicide, you now face minimum sentences. The judge must follow these guidelines when determining the sentence. The minimum sentence for someone with two or more DUI convictions on their record is seven years. The minimum sentence for repeat DUI offenders who use their vehicles to commit aggravated assault also increases under the new DUI laws.
Repeat DUI Offenders Face Felony Charges
Until the change in drunk driving laws, repeat DUI offenders did not need to worry about facing felony charges. However, this has changed. If you are convicted for a fourth DUI within 10 years, you are charged with a felony in the third degree. The penalty for this DUI charge is three and one-half years to seven years in prison and a fine of $15,000. If you are charged with a second or third DUI offense, you might also face a felony charge if your previous DUI offenses involved aggravating factors. Aggravating factors may include a DUI accident involving injury or death, having a minor in the vehicle with you, or having a high BAC level.
Driving with a Suspended or Revoked License
If your driver’ license has been suspended or revoked because of a drunk driving charge, you face increased penalties if you are caught driving. A first and second offense remains a summary offense with a fine and minimum jail time. However, a third offense is now a misdemeanor with a mandatory jail term and fine. The mandatory minimum for a third offense is now a fine of $2,500 and six months in jail.
The above changes are not the only changes to PA DUI laws. Contact our Erie DUI attorney to discuss all the changes to DUI laws under Senate Bill 961.
Contact an Erie DUI Attorney Immediately!
The harsher DUI laws in Pennsylvania are designed to discourage individuals from driving under the influence of alcohol. However, your legal rights have not changed. You have the right to remain silent and the right to legal counsel. Our Erie DUI attorney strongly urges you to exercise all your legal rights after a DUI arrest.
Contact The Travis Law Firm by calling (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced Erie DUI attorney.