If you have at least one DUI conviction on your record, you should know that the penalties for a second or subsequent conviction might be getting tougher in Pennsylvania soon.
In mid-November, the state House of Representatives passed a bill to make the sentence for a subsequent DUI harsher. Here are the basics of the bill:
- For a second DUI with an elevated blood-alcohol content (BAC), the offender would have to serve their sentence consecutively with the sentences for any other convictions, rather than concurrently
- A fourth DUI with an elevated blood-alcohol content would become a second-degree felony, raising the potential penalties the defendant would face
Pennsylvania has three levels of DUI based on BAC. A standard DUI is driving with a BAC of .08 percent to .099 percent. A “high BAC” DUI is one where the driver had a BAC of .10 percent to .159 percent, and driving with a BAC of .160 percent or above is called a “highest BACT DUI.” It is not clear from an article about the legislation if it would count “high” and “highest” BAC convictions or only the latter.
Will this bill pass?
The bill will now move to the state Senate, which passed a similar bill last year which failed in the House. That fact suggests that it stands a good chance of becoming law. If it does, the stakes will be that much higher for Pennsylvanians with a prior elevated-BAC DUI on their records who have been arrested and charged again. The need for experienced and trustworthy legal advice and advocacy from a local defense attorney will be more critical than ever.