DUIs are serious offenses. The consequences have the potential to follow a convicted person for the rest of his or her life. At the beginning of 2019, Pennsylvania legislators passed new laws that will make the consequences even more severe for DUI offenders.
All of these new laws come courtesy of Senate Bill 961. Pennsylvania has thousands of DUI cases every year, and the hope of the new laws is to further deter more people from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. The laws have become stricter in recent months, so anyone thinking of driving while drunk needs to think twice.
More penalties for driving with a suspended license
A DUI conviction can lead to jail time and huge fines. It will also lead to the local DMV suspending the person's license. The old law had a $500 fine and a maximum of 90 days in jail whether it was a person's first or third suspended license offense. Under the new law, a second offense will come with a $1,000 fine and a minimum of 90 days in jail. The results of a third offense are a fine of up to $2,500 and a maximum of six months in jail.
New felony classification
With the old law, a DUI was always a misdemeanor in Pennsylvania regardless of the driver's blood alcohol concentration. With the new law, a third DUI becomes a felony if the driver has a BAC of at least 0.16%. A fourth DUI will always be a felony regardless of BAC.
New laws for adults accompanying teens with learner's permits
It is possible to get a DUI as a passenger in the state. Adults must remain sober when they are with their student driver behind the wheel. There are several ways for passengers to get DUIs in Pennsylvania, so a good rule of thumb is to remain sober if planning on going anywhere that evening.