On July 11, 2022, Governor Tom Wolf signed a new law aimed at repeat DUI drivers. The law expands penalties for Pennsylvania drivers convicted of multiple driving under the influence offenses.
The legislation is referred to as “Deana’s Law” and would also prohibit a judge from imposing concurrent sentences for DUI drivers facing third, fourth, or subsequent DUI offenses. I review the new DUI law changes in the following blog post.
Multiple DUI Lawyer
Have the police charged you with a third or fourth driving under the influence offense? Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s new enhanced DUI penalty law will dramatically increase the jail time and parole and probation supervision for drivers convicted of third and subsequent DUI charges.
Contact me by phone if you face charges in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, or the nearby Pennsylvania Counties. My legal practice focuses primarily on DUI defense. I offer affordable DUI rates and free case consultations. Also, you can reach me through a confidential contact form.
Enhanced Grading for Highest Tier Third Offense DUI Cases
The police will grade specific highest-tier third-time DUI charges as third-degree felonies under the new law. The new higher felony grading will apply to persons charged with a third offense DUI involving the following circumstances:
- A chemical test refusal
- A blood alcohol level (BAC) of at least 0.16 or higher
- The presence of a drug, controlled substance, or drug metabolite in your bloodstream
- The presence of alcohol, drugs, controlled substances, or a drug metabolite in your system
Penalties Upgraded for Third Offense DUI
Under the revised law, penalties for a top tier third offense DUI include the following:
- Felony of the third degree
- Up to seven years in a state prison
- Mandatory minimum one-year prison sentence
- 18-month suspension of driving privileges
- Mandatory minimum $2,500 fine
The New Law Eliminates Concurrent Sentences for Third and Subsequent DUI Offenses
Another notable aspect of the new DUI law requires DUI judges to impose consecutive sentences on DUI offenders with two, three, or more prior DUI convictions. The law restricts the discretion of the sentencing judge in the following ways:
- All sentences for DUI charges that do not merge are required to run consecutive to each other; and
- Each DUI sentence must run consecutive to any sentences the judge imposes on any other cases
Increased Punishment for Aggravated Fourth Offense DUI cases involving:
- A blood or breath test refusal
- A BAC of 0.16 or above
- The presence of a drug, controlled substance, or drug metabolite in their bloodstream
- The identification of a drug, controlled substance, drug metabolite, or alcohol in their system
What is a Consecutive DUI Sentence in PA?
When a judge imposes consecutive sentences on a Defendant, the offender must serve the entire length of the first sentence before the second sentence begins. Consecutive sentences increase the time a Defendant spends in jail and on probation or parole supervision. The increased incarceration and supervision will often make it much more difficult for the offender to rehabilitate themself.
How Will the Mandatory Consecutive Sentence Provision Affect DUI Cases?
Unfortunately, the new law removes a judge’s discretion to impose concurrent sentences on the current DUI case and any other cases the offender may have. According to the new law, a DUI Defendant must serve each sentence entirely, one after the other. Consequently, DUI offenders will do much more time in jail and on probation and parole.
Under the existing DUI law, the judge could direct that one or more sentences run concurrently. A concurrent sentence runs simultaneously or “inside” one or more sentences.
Notably, there are many good reasons that a judge may order a concurrent sentence, such as proof of substance abuse treatment, family circumstances, psychological treatment, and community support.
New Enhanced Penalties for Fourth Offense Aggravated DUI
The recently signed law imposes the following penalties on offenders charged with a fourth offense highest tier DUI:
- Felony of the second degree
- Up to ten years in a state prison
- Mandatory one-year jail prison sentence
- 18-month driver’s license suspension
- Mandatory minimum $2,500 fine
Sentencing Enhancement for Fifth Offense Aggravated DUI
The law directs the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to develop a sentencing enhancement for the DUI sentencing court to apply in cases where the Defendant has four or more prior DUI convictions.
Given the penalties in the recent law, it is reasonable to expect that fifth offense highest tier DUI offenders will be subject to at least two or more years of mandatory jail time for a fifth offense of DWI.
When Does the New PA DUI Law Go into Effect?
The recent amendment to the Pennsylvania DUI law takes effect on November 10, 2022.
Do I Need a Lawyer for DUI?
Yes. It is not advisable to represent yourself in a DUI case, particularly with the DUI-enhanced penalties going into effect in November 2022. The new law changes will drastically impact Defendants charged with a third or subsequent driving while impaired offense.
I handle every DUI case in my criminal defense practice. I will discuss all potential DUI defenses with you during our initial consultation.
In some cases, the prosecutor may reduce the more serious DUI charges if the Defendant can demonstrate successful drug and alcohol counseling or other proof of pre-trial rehabilitation.
Affordable DUI Lawyer Near Me
Consult with a top-rated DUI attorney if the police file driving under the influence charges against you. My DUI practice area includes Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and surrounding Pennsylvania Counties.