On July 11, 2022, the Governor of Pennsylvania signed “Deanna's Law.” This new law significantly increases DUI penalties for repeat offenders. For offenders who are facing their third (or more) DUI offense, they are now looking at a second-degree felony. That means the statutory maximum sentence has been increased to 10 years!
The new law also requires “consecutive” sentences for those convicted of at least a third DUI offense (or more). That means for motorists with two prior DUI offenses, if you are serving a sentence when you get a DUI, your third or next offense will not start until your present offense is completed. If you receive two or more DUI cases, and you have two or more prior offenses, then those cases must be served consecutively. That means they must be served one after the other.
The change relating to “consecutive” sentences means if you are looking at two DUI offenses and each has a one-year mandatory minimum, those sentences must be served one after the other. That means you will be looking at a two-year minimum sentence!
The new law also requires the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission to provide a sentencing enhancement for individuals who have four or more prior offenses when: (1) there is a breath test refusal or chemical test refusal where the police get a valid warrant or court order, (2) a chemical test showing a blood alcohol content of 0.16% or greater, or (3) a driving under the influence of drugs charge.
What is a “prior offense”? The law views a “prior offense” as those convictions in the ten years.
It remains to be seen as to whether the sentence enhancement provision is constitutional. Criminal penalties must be voted on by a legislative body and passed into law. When the legislature instructed the Sentencing Commission to come up with an enhanced penalty, that may be an unlawful delegation of authority to a state agency.
Questions? Talk to a DUI Lawyer Today!
If you are facing a serious Felony DUI charge, don't delay. Call now to set up your free consultation with a DUI attorney who has over 34 years experience. Mike Sherman is a former Pennsylvania State Police attorney, noted author and speaker on DUI law. Call 412-471-5000. Our phone is answered 24 hours a day.
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