Pennsylvania lawmakers significantly toughened PA DUI laws beginning in 2019. The state was never known for taking it easy or drunk driving offenders; however, the changes in the state’s DUI laws may now result in some offenders being charged with felony DUI.
If you are charged with any offense related to alcohol-impaired driving, you need an experienced Erie DUI attorney on your side. You could face substantial fines and jail time for a DUI conviction. However, a DUI conviction can also have long-term consequences for your education and career path.
Attorney Grant Travis is serious about DUI defense. He fights for the rights of northwestern Pennsylvania drivers to ensure their legal rights are protected. Call (800) 401-2066 for a free consultation with Attorney Travis to discuss your case.
2019 Changes in PA Drunk Driving Laws
Senate Bill 961 targets several areas of drunk driving laws, including repeat DUI offenders, driving with a suspended license, and DUI vehicular homicide. The bill received almost unanimous consent across party lines passing in the Senate by a vote of 45 to 4 and passing the House by a vote of 184 to 1. Changes to the Pennsylvania DUI laws in the bill include:
Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License for DUI
Unfortunately, many individuals continue to drive even after their driver’s license is suspended for DUI. Lawmakers sought to give more “teeth” to the charges of driving with a suspended license for a DUI by increasing the penalties. Under the new law, you can be sentenced to at least 90 days in jail and fined up to $1,000 for a second offense. A third offense could carry six months in jail and a $2,500 file.
Repeat DUI Offenders Now Face a Felony Charge
Under the old law, DUI charges were misdemeanors. Now, a third-offense DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or higher is a felony. A fourth-offense DUI is a felony regardless of the BAC level.
DUI Vehicular Homicide Carries Higher Penalties
The penalties for an individual who causes the death of another person while driving under the influence increases if the individual has prior DUI convictions. The old law carried a maximum penalty of three years in prison. Under the new law, anyone with a prior DUI conviction will be sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison for a DUI vehicular homicide conviction. If the person has two or more prior DUI convictions, the minimum prison sentence increases to seven years.
Call an Erie DUI Attorney for a Free Case Review
You have rights. An arrest for drunk driving is not a conviction. Before you agree to plead guilty to a drunk driving charge, have an experienced DUI attorney in Erie review your case. You may have one or more valid defenses to the DUI charge that could result in a dismissal of your charges.
To discuss your case with an experienced Northwestern Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney, contact The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to request a free legal consultation.