In Pennsylvania, motorists driving under the influence of alcohol cause more than 10,000 car accidents annually. These DUI crashes result in about 5,000 injuries and 300 fatalities.
Many people believe that the vast majority of these DUI accidents can be prevented by introducing increased penalties for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. If you are one of those believers in the “increase DUI penalties to prevent drunk driving accidents” theory, you and your family can finally sleep tight.
“That’s because Pennsylvania lawmakers passed legislation that makes DUI penalties more severe,” says our car accident attorney Philadelphia at Dan Doyle Law Group. The law, which intends to prevent DUI accidents caused by individuals who have a history of drunk driving, took effect just before Christmas, on December 23, 2018.
Despite this, victims of DUI accidents may still feel as though they are alone and hopeless in their legal battle to recover damages. That’s not only because the criminal justice system in Pennsylvania is often impotent when it comes to protecting victims of drunk driving crashes.
“However, do not lose hope if you failed to get justice, because you may still be able to pursue compensation through the civil justice system,” advises our Philadelphia car accident attorney.
Since Dec. 23, 2018, multiple convictions for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol is now a felony in Pennsylvania. That’s because a new law increased penalties for repeat DUI offenders.
Before the new legislation, Pennsylvania was one of very few states in the nation that did no classify multiple DUI convictions as felonies. After the new law took effect in Pennsylvania, residents arrested for DUI will now be subject to felony charges if on their third DUI conviction their blood alcohol content (BAC) is at 0.16 or higher or they are driving under the influence of controlled substance.
On his or her fourth DUI conviction, the repeat offender will also be subject to felony charges regardless of his/her BAC or whether he or she was driving under the influence of drugs.
In its essence, the new DUI legislation in Pennsylvania is meant to discourage repeat DUI offenders from driving while intoxicated by increasing the fines and jail sentence with each repeated conviction.
Thanks to the new legislation in Pennsylvania, the minimum fine for two DUI convictions is now $1,000 with a minimum jail sentence of at least 90 days. A third and any subsequent conviction will result in a fine of $2,500 on top of six months in jail.
Under the new legislation, the minimum sentence for repeat DUI offenders found guilty of DUI vehicular homicide will also be increased. If you have one DUI conviction prior to committing intoxicated vehicular homicide, you will face five years in prison, while offenders with two DUI convictions will be facing seven years.
But can the new DUI legislation in Pennsylvania make any difference in preventing drunk driving crashes as well as preventing any resulting injuries and fatalities? Our Philadelphia car accident lawyer from Dan Doyle Law Group is confident that it can, because according to Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving website, of more than 140,000 residents who have a suspended license due to a DUI conviction, up to 75 percent of them will continue to drive illegally.
With the new legislation now in effect, DUI offenders will think twice before getting behind the wheel when intoxicated. Have you been injured in a DUI accident but cannot get justice and seek compensation for your injuries and damages? Consult with our attorneys at Dan Doyle Law Group by scheduling a free case evaluation today. Call at 215-987-3730 today.