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Tougher Penalties Now in Effect for DUIs in Pennsylvania

Starting in December, the consequences for repeat drunk driving offenses in Pennsylvania have become much tougher.

The new legislation that was passed in October by the state’s General Assembly and then signed by Governor Tom Wolf went into effect in mid-December. The legislation created the first felony charge for driving under the influence (DUI) in the state. That felony applies when someone is charged with a third offense within a 10-year span for at least twice the legal limit of blood alcohol content (BAC), or for any person with four or more offenses. The legal BAC limit for drivers is .08 percent.

The new law also introduces mandatory jail time for anyone who unintentionally causes the death of another person due to a repeat DUI violation. In addition, it increases fines and penalties for DUI on a license that was suspended because of a previous conviction. There are currently about 250,000 repeat DUI offenders in the state, along with another 140,000 who have licenses suspended because of impaired driving.

Targeting DUI offenders

Legislators and law enforcement officials hope the heightened penalties will act as a deterrent to drivers who might want to drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or, at the very least, help get some of the worst offenders off the road for longer periods of time.

However, just because you have been charged with DUI does not mean you will automatically be found guilty or face the harshest penalties available. There are defense strategies you can use to minimize or entirely avoid serious consequences. A skilled attorney can provide tremendous value in this way.

For more information on the best strategies to employ in your defense against impaired driving charges, speak with experienced Berks County DUI defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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