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Pennsylvania State Senator Wants Tougher DUI Laws

Sen. Lloyd Smucker, a Republican state senator from Lancaster, is working on a new bill that would add some tough new elements to the state’s laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI).

The bill would target people who have had more than two DUI convictions within a 10-year period. Repeat offenders whose actions result in the death of a victim could then be charged with third-degree murder, and the offender would be automatically presumed to be negligent or reckless, increasing the potential penalties he or she faces. Meanwhile, other DUI offenders could be jailed for up to seven years and face fines of up to $15,000.

Sen. Smucker says he is still looking for fellow legislators to co-sponsor the bill, but is serious about getting it signed into law.

Responding to a recent incident

The new proposal comes after an accident that killed 18-year-old Meredith Demko in July 2014. She was reportedly struck head-on by a 29-year-old man while he was under the influence of alcohol. The man had two prior DUI convictions and was driving on a suspended license (it was suspended in 2003 and never reinstated). At the time of the accident, his blood alcohol content (BAC) level was almost three times the legal limit, and a chemical test revealed there was also heroin in his system. He eventually pleaded guilty to several charges, including third-degree murder, and was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in prison.

For more information on the various DUI laws in Pennsylvania, meet with experienced Reading criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.

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