Pennsylvania's New DUI Law

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Pennsylvania's revised DUI law provides for substantially increased jail time and penalties for individuals convicted of DUI on a DUI related license suspension, kill innocent victims while drunk driving, and repeat DUI offenders. Penalties are also increased for repeat driving while suspended, DUI related, offenses and getting into car accidents while drunk.

To start, an individual who violates section 3802(a) and has [more than one prior offense] two prior offenses commits a misdemeanor of the second degree. An individual who violates section 3802 and has three or more prior offenses or has previously been convicted of a violation of section 3735 (relating to homicide by vehicle while driving under influence) commits a felony of the third degree. This is important as a prior record score for any subsequent DUI or non-DUI related criminal event. The perpetrator is going to jail longer.

On the refusal DUI case, the penalties are more striking. 

(2) An individual who violates section 3802(a)(1) where the individual refused testing of [blood or] breath or chemical testing pursuant to a valid search warrant, court order or any other basis permissible by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Pennsylvania, or who violates section 3802(c) or (d) and who has no prior offenses commits a misdemeanor for which the individual may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than six months and to pay a fine under section 3804.

(3) An individual who violates section 3802(a)(1) where there was an accident resulting in bodily injury, serious bodily injury or death of any person or in damage to a vehicle or other property, or who violates section 3802(b), (e) or (f) and who has [more than one prior offense] two prior offenses commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(4) An individual who violates section 3802(a)(1) where the individual refused testing of [blood or] breath or chemical testing pursuant to a valid search warrant, court order or any other basis permissible by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Pennsylvania, or who violates section 3802(c) or (d) and who has one [or more] prior [offenses] offense commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(4.1) An individual who violates section 3802(a)(1) where the individual refused testing of breath or chemical testing pursuant to a valid search warrant, court order or any other basis permissible by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Pennsylvania, or who violates section 3802(c) or (d) and who has two or more prior offenses commits a felony of the third degree.

Here the legislature is compelling the court to assess a significant higher prior record score for DUI offenders who refuse the breath or blood tests.

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