PA House Bill 773 (2022), also known as Deana’s Law,” was approved by the Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolf on July 11, 2022 and became 120 days after the approval or November 9, 2022. The update to the DUI law increases penalties and sentences for repeat DUI convictions. 

The bill was inspired by Deana Eckman. A five-time drunk driver killed the 45-year-old Pennsylvania resident in 2019 when he drove his pickup truck across a double yellow line and slammed head-on into the car she was riding in. She was riding with her husband who was seriously injured as a result of the crash. 


1) Addition of 2nd Degree Felony for Certain Repeat DUI Offenders


Under the Pennsylvania Criminal Code § 3803(b)(4.1), the new law increases the grading of a DUI from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the second degree (more serious) “if the individual has three or more prior offenses.”

Here is the new law: § 3803(b)(4.1) An individual who violates section 3802(a)(1) [general impairment] where the individual refused testing of breath or chemical testing pursuant to a valid search warrant, court order or any other basis permissible by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Pennsylvania, OR who violates section 3802(c) [related to highest rate of alcohol] OR (d) [related to controlled substances] commits (i) A felony of the third degree if the individual has two prior offenses. (ii) A felony of the second degree if the individual has three or more prior offenses.

In Pennsylvania, a conviction for a felony of the third degree can mean a fine of not less than $2,500 nor exceeding $15,000, or imprisonment not exceeding seven years, or both. A conviction for a felony of the second degree, can mean a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $25,000, or imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both (see §923(a)(8) and (a)(9)).

2) Consecutive Sentences for Repeat Offenders in PA

Sentences imposed for multiple convictions can be “concurrent,” which means that the “clock” for both sentences (e.g., 5 years and 10 years) starts at the same time – they expire simultaneously.

Sentences can also be “consecutive,” which means that the clock for conviction 2 does not start until the clock for conviction 1 has expired – they expire consecutively.


The new law mandates that any newly imposed DUI sentences be imposed consecutively if the individual has two or more prior offenses (with one exception noted below). This addition will be added as § 3804(c.2) under to the existing “Penalties” part of the law.

The new law reads as follows: (c.2) Consecutive sentence.– A sentence imposed upon an individual under this section who has two or more prior offenses shall be served consecutively to any other sentence the individual is serving and to any other sentence being then imposed by the court, except for those with which the offense must merge as a matter of law.

3) Sentencing Enhancement

Additionally, the new law added § 3804(c.3) to the existing “Penalties” part of the law which provides for a sentencing enhancement for a conviction under § 3803(b)(4.1) “where the individual has four or more prior offenses.” This means the possible penalty a judge may impose under these conditions can exceed the normal penalty.

First-degree misdemeanor DUI convictions as well as 3rd and 2nd degree felony DUI convictions require an 18-month license suspension under the new law (under § 3804(e)(2)(ii) – Penalties.)