What Do the 2018 New Pennsylvania DUI Laws mean for those charged with a Pittsburgh DUI?

Pennsylvania Legislative Act 153 of 2018 made substantial changes to PA DUI, and related, law. Those charged with DUI in Pittsburgh may now be affected so I am going to break down the major changes.

Title 75 Sec. 1543 (b)(1) – Driving During Suspension DUI Related

This used to provide for a Mandatory Jail sentence of 60 to 90 days and a fine and was, generally, a summary offense. The new law creates more, and higher, penalties for 2nd and subsequent convictions of this Statute as follows:

  1. A first offense is a summary offense and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of not less than 60 nor more than 90 days in jail;
  2. A second offense is also a summary offense but the mandatory minimum sentence is 90 days;
  3. A third, or subsequent, conviction is graded as a misdemeanor offense on carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 6 months in jail.

Title 75 Sec. 3802 Driving Under The Influence (DUI) of Alcohol Controlled Substances

These are changes that may have a large impact on those charged with a Pittsburgh DUI depending on the number of prior DUI convictions a person has within 10 years.

  1. First and second DUI offenses will, for the most part, remain the same;
  2. A third DUI offense within 10 years where the driver’s Blood Alcohol Content is above a .16% was a Misdemeanor of the first degree with a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year and maximum sentence of 5 years. The same offense will now be a Felony of the 3rd degree with a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 year and a maximum sentence of 7 years;
  3. Fourth and subsequent offense will now also be Felonies of the 3rd degree with the same minimum and maximum sentences.

The effects of the above changes can be subtle but can have huge ramifications. A Felony conviction can make it difficult for a person to maintain employment. Further, the fact that the maximum sentence for those offense has gone up from 5 years to 7 years will allow Judges to give much harsher sentences and will affect parole eligibility.

It is interesting to note that while Pennsylvania amended the DUI laws to raise penalties the Constitutional problems with Marijuana Metabolite DUI charges under PA law were not addressed which presents danger to those who use legal Medical Marijuana. I will endeavor to address those issues in a separate blog Article.

If you have been charged with a Pittsburgh DUI (or charged with DUI anywhere in Allegheny County, Butler County, Beaver County, Westmoreland County or Washington County) this new DUI Law could have substantial consequences for you.

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