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New bill in Senate could change drunk driving punishment

Apparently, Pennsylvania lawmakers do not feel that current laws related to impaired driving are stringent enough. A state Senate committee has been working on a new bill that would increase the punishment of repeated drunk driving offenses. The bill has been passed by the committee and now must be considered in the state Senate.  

Senate Bill 961 was unanimously passed by the committee that drafted the bill. The bill will now proceed for all state senators to discuss and vote. Many lawmakers do not feel that some of the current punishments coincide with the level of offense some commit and also believe some punishments are too lenient. The goal is to make the punishment match the crime.

The bill includes laws to increase the minimum prison sentence for offenders when drunk driving results in a death. Additionally, if a death results because of a DUI, and the driver has had four or more DUI offenses within a 10-year period, he or she can be charged and possibly convicted of third-degree murder. Other sections of the bill include language that would increase some repeat offenses from a misdemeanor charge to a felony.

Although no one should operate a vehicle if they have been consuming alcohol or other judgment-impairing substances, many Pennsylvania drivers continue to make the unwise choice. If arrested and charged with drunk driving, securing a savvy criminal defense lawyer early in the process is essential for any defense strategy. In addition, attorneys are up to date on any law changes and how they could affect a person's criminal case or outcome.

Source:, "Senate bill would toughen Pennsylvania DUI laws for repeat offenders," Brian C. Rittmeyer, Dec. 13, 2017

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