Homicide by Vehicle Bill Hits Pennsylvania Legislature
State Rep. Dan Moul has attempted to toughen Pennsylvania’s vehicular homicide laws in the past, but has not yet been successful. Now he has a new bill, House Bill 1353, going through the Pennsylvania legislature. It has already passed by a landslide in the House of Representatives and is now subject to a vote in the State Senate.
The bill would make sentencing guidelines even tougher for repeat drunk driving offenders who are charged with killing someone with their vehicle. Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentence for vehicular homicide while under the influence is three years, but this bill would make the new minimum five years. An additional five years would then be added to the sentence for each person killed in one of these crashes.
Motivation for change
The measure, dubbed “Angie’s Law,” stems from the 2014 death of a 33-year-old woman named Angela Marie Rigby, who passed away after suffering severe injuries in a 2012 crash a drunk driver caused. The 30-year-old offender pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide while driving under the influence and received a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
There was some uproar after the sentence was announced, with many believing it was far too lenient on the offender given the nature of the crime. Rep. Moul believes the new penalties that would be enforced with this law — should it pass in the Senate and be signed by the governor — are a “small price to pay” for the crime committed, especially for those who have been convicted of DUI in the past.
For the guidance and advice you need when charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, speak with skilled Berks County criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.