Numerous convictions for driving under the influence (“DUI”) in Pennsylvania can result in a felony pursuant to a new law put into effect relatively recently.

As a result of the enactment of this DUI legislation, people who drive under the influence are now subject to felony charges if, on their third DUI conviction, they are found to have driven with a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 or higher or under the influence of a controlled substance. A fourth DUI conviction — regardless of blood alcohol level or substance involved — will now also be considered a felony.

Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving, an advocacy group of parents who have lost children to DUI incidents, pushed for passage of the new law. Representatives from the group believe that the higher grading of the crime for multiple time offenders and the harsher penalties will deter people from driving while intoxicated within the Commonwealth.

The new law also increases the minimum sentence for past DUI offenders who commit intoxicated vehicular homicide. The penalty with one prior DUI is now five years, while the minimum for an offender with two DUI convictions increases to seven years.

Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving estimates there are more than 12,000 DUI crashes every year in the Commonwealth, with 9,000 injuries resulting from those and 333 deaths.



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