Push at Pennsylvania Legislature to Strengthen DUI Laws
Family members of individuals killed in DUI related accidents in Pennsylvania are lobbying the Legislature to strengthen the penalties associated with driving under the influence cases. The primary group pushing for more severe punishments in DUI cases is called PA Parents Against Impaired Driving [PAID]. About a dozen families of young people killed in drunk driving accidents comprise the group. Other groups supporting these efforts are MADD and the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.
Weak Penalties in Pennsylvania?
The individuals seeking tougher penalties for DUI cases maintain that Pennsylvania has some of the weakest penalties in the nation. According to PA PAID, 333 people in Pennsylvania died in alcohol related accidents in 2014, the last full year for which statistics are available. Alcohol related crashes accounted for 20% of all fatalities on roadways in Pennsylvania in that year.
Not Much New on the Table
The reality is that much of the legislation being talked about has been brought before the Legislature in prior years and languished. The hope amongst these advocates is that a concerted effort on their part will bring forth a strengthening of DUI penalties after the conclusion of this legislative session.
Impact on DUI Defendants
Should the proposed legislative end up becoming law during this legislative session, DUI defendants will face even more serious consequences if convicted of driving under the influence. If these measures pass, a person charged with DUI is likely to face more significant jail time and higher monetary penalties. Longer periods of suspension of a driver’s license is also a possibility.
In addition to this general strengthening of penalties, a focus also appears to be on first time offenders. Historically, in Pennsylvania, a person convicted the first time of a DUI usually received what can often times be described as a relatively moderate penalty. There is a movement to notably strengthen the penalties associated with first time convictions as well.
When facing DUI charges, even on a first offense, it is imperative for a person to retain the professional assistance of a capable Pennsylvania DUI attorney. A Pennsylvania DUI lawyer will schedule an initial consultation at no cost to a prospective client.