Senate Approves Tougher Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders

HARRISBURG – Repeat DUI offenders would face tougher punishments under legislation the Senate approved today, according to Senator Scott Martin (R-13).

Senate Bill 961, sponsored by Senator John Rafferty (R-44), was amended to include a proposal Martin introduced to increase penalties for subsequent DUI crimes and levy harsher sentences against repeat offenders who cause the death of another person.

The amended version of the bill clarifies that any individual convicted of their third DUI with a BAC of .16 or higher could be found guilty of a felony offense. The same penalty would apply to all individuals convicted of four or more DUI offenses. Pennsylvania is one of just four states that does not have a felony charge for DUI.

“Repeat DUI offenders show zero concern for other motorists and create a serious danger on our roadways,” Martin said. “This legislation sends a strong message that repeat offenders will face even more dire consequences when they make the selfish and irresponsible decision to drink and drive.”

There were 10,256 alcohol-related crashes and 297 alcohol-related fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2016.

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

  • Increasing the minimum term of imprisonment for a person who unintentionally causes the death of another person while intoxicated. The minimum sentence would increase from three years to five years if the person has a prior DUI, and from three years to seven years if the offender has two or more prior DUIs.
  • Increasing sentencing provisions for offenders who are not properly licensed or under suspension. The current penalty is a fine of $500 and imprisonment of 60 to 90 days. The legislation would increase this penalty on a second offense to a fine of $1,000 and imprisonment of at least 90 days. A third or subsequent offense would result in a fine of $2,500 and at least six months in jail.

Senate Bill 961 was sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535

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