Senate Panel Approves Tougher Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders

HARRISBURG – Repeat drunk driving offenders could face tougher penalties under legislation that was approved by the Senate Transportation Committee this week, according to Senator Scott Martin (R-13).

Martin introduced legislation (Senate Bill 635) earlier this year that would increase the grading of subsequent DUI crimes and levy harsher sentences against repeat offenders who cause the death of another person.

On Wednesday, these provisions were amended into Senate Bill 961, which is sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chairman John Rafferty (R-44). The amended bill includes a number of other measures designed to hold repeat DUI offenders accountable for their actions.

The amended version of the bill clarifies that any individual convicted of their third DUI with a BAC of .16 or higher and all individuals convicted of their fourth DUI in a 10-year period could be found guilty of a felony offense.

“Pennsylvania has seen far too many cases in which habitual drunk drivers have inflicted serious consequences upon innocent motorists. Even one tragedy related to drunk driving is one too many,” Senator Martin mentioned. “A great deal of effort is made to rehabilitate offenders, but there must be repercussions for people who continue to thumb their nose at the law and put themselves and others in danger.”

The amended version of the bill makes a number of other changes to existing DUI law, including:

  • Increasing the minimum term of imprisonment for Homicide by Vehicle while DUI from the current three years to five years if the person has one or two prior DUIs, and from three to seven years if the person has three or more prior DUIs. The bill retains the current consecutive term of incarceration for each victim.
  • Increasing sentencing provisions to Homicide by Vehicle, Aggravated Assault by Vehicle, and Aggravated Assault by Vehicle while DUI charges when the individual committing the offense is not properly licensed or under suspension.

After earning committee approval, the legislation now moves to the full Senate for consideration.


CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535

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