HARRISBURG, Pa. – According to a PennDOT press release, those who repeatedly commit DUI offenses will face stiffer penalties under a new Pennsylvania law.
PennDOT announced Tuesday that the law changed how certain drunk driving offenses are classified.
“This law makes significant changes to the existing law that will ultimately improve the protections of all drivers by discouraging repeat offenders from continuing to drive a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol after being charged with a DUI,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “The repetition of these offenses puts others at risk and these law changes reflect the seriousness of these acts to make our streets safer.”
The legislation created Law 59 of 2022 – dubbed “Deana’s Law” – which amends the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code by increasing the classification for certain DUI offenses, mandating a consecutive conviction for certain repeat offenders of DUI, and an 18-month suspension of the Fahrrecht issued a DUI conviction that was classified as a second-degree felony, PennDOT said.
Under the new law, a person charged with DUI (general impairment) and refusing a breath or chemical test, or who is charged with DUI with a BAC of 0.16 or greater, or a controlled substance DUI and is already the following number of incidents has criminal offenses, commits:
A third-degree felony for two prior offenses (previously two or more prior offenses); and
A second-degree felony for three or more prior offenses (formerly a third-degree felony).
The above offenses are classified as follows:
A third-degree crime is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of seven years; and
A second-degree crime is punishable by imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years.
Another change in the law is that a sentence imposed on a person for a DUI offense who had two or more prior convictions will serve after any other sentence the person is serving or any other sentence imposed by the court will be merged, except for violations that are required, PennDOT said. The law also provides for a penalty upgrade in cases where an individual has four or more DUI offenses.
“Disabled driving puts everyone at risk, and repeat offenders disregard the risk they pose every time they get behind the wheel with a disability,” said Major Robert Krol, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol. “This law increases the penalties for these individuals and hopefully they will think twice before committing another crime.”
For more information on the law change, visit the Driver and Vehicle Services website.