Pennsylvania cracks down on drivers with repeat DUIs
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania is cracking down on drivers with repeat DUIs, adding more stringent penalties for violations.
Act 59, or “Deana’s Law,” was passed in honor of Deana Eckman, who was killed in a head-on collision on Feb. 16, 2019, in Delaware County.
Eckman's car was hit by a truck being driven by a man who had previously been convicted of five DUIs. He crossed a double yellow line and smashed into her vehicle, killing her instantly.
“Repeating these offenses puts others at risk,” PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian said in a news release.
“These law changes reflect the severity of these acts to make our roads safer.”PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian
“These law changes reflect the severity of these acts to make our roads safer.”
The grading of certain DUI offenses will now be more severe and carry harsher penalties. It will:
- Require consecutive sentencing for certain repeat DUI offenders
- Suspend driving privileges for 18 months, for second-degree felony DUI offenders (aggravated assault with a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol)
- Those charged with a DUI (general impairment) who refuse a breath or chemical test, have a BAC of .16 or higher, or a DUI involving controlled substances, and two prior convictions will be now charged with a third-degree felony.
- The above group with three prior offenses will now be charged with a second-degree felony
- Sentencing for DUIs will be longer when a driver has four or more prior offenses.
A felony of the third degree is punishable by a maximum prison term of not more than seven years; and a felony of the second degree is punishable by a maximum prison term of not more than 10 years.
“Driving impaired puts everyone at risk,” Major Robert Krol, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol, said in the release.
“Hopefully they will think twice before reoffending.”
More information on the law change can be found here.