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Unfortunately, driving under the influence (DUI) charges are fairly common in Pennsylvania. In fact, there are over 50,000 DUI arrests each year in the state.
To combat DUIs, Pennsylvania recently passed Act 153. The state government enacted increased sanctions on DUI offenders as a crime deterrent. In order to fight these fines and penalties, it is necessary to hire an attorney with vast experience litigating DUI cases.
Read on for everything you need to know about a DUI in PA. Explore the increased penalties and other details behind PA’s new DUI law here.
When Did the New DUI Law Take Effect?
Before diving into the details, it is important to know when the new DUI law took effect. Act 153 commenced on December 23rd, 2018.
This means that any DUI offenses taking place on or after this date are subject to the new rules and regulations. There could also be implications for DUI charges occurring prior to this date. This is because the new law created harsher penalties for repeat DUI offenders.
For a free legal consultation, call 215.515.3360
What Are the Changes for Repeat Offenders?
The concept behind the new law is to increase penalties for repeat offenders. In the past, PA was one of just a handful of states that did not consider repeated DUIs a felony charge.
Now, if a person is convicted on a DUI charge for a 3rd or 4th time within 10 years, they are facing possible felony charges. For a 3rd repeat offense, a felony charge is applicable if the person’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) was 0.16 or higher.
Regardless of BAC, a person’s 4th DUI offense is automatically considered a felony. This designation is serious because it carries heavy fines, significant jail time, and a felony record which will make finding employment more challenging.
What About Drivers who Operate a Vehicle on Suspended License?
Another target of Act 153 is drivers who operate a vehicle on a suspended license. Some DUI offenders try to skirt the consequences by driving without a license.
Act 153 imposes significant fines and possibly even jail time for doing so. The first time gets you a $500 fine and between 60 to 90 days in jail.
The fines and jail time increase with each subsequent offense. A third offense lands you a $2500 fine and a minimum jail sentence of 6 months.
What Are the Penalties for Homicide by Vehicle?
Under Act 153, the minimum penalty for a DUI-induced homicide by vehicle is 3 years. Even more stringent, the law applies consecutive 3-year minimum sentences if there are multiple victims.
With a prior DUI on your rap sheet, the minimum sentence increases to 5 years. Two prior DUIs and the minimum jail time spikes to 7 years. There are also greater sanctions for aggravated assault by vehicle.
A Recap of DUI in PA
A DUI is a serious offense and the state of Pennsylvania is cracking down hard. If you’ve been charged with DUI the best chance to reduce your fine or jail time is to hire a seasoned legal veteran.
If you have recently been charged with a DUI in PA, contact The Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC at today. Call 215-515-3360 for a free consultation.