Under Pennsylvania law, people convicted of DUI offenses face more severe penalties if it is their second or subsequent DUI conviction. While this has long been the case, the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code was recently amended to increase the penalties imposed on repeat DUI offenders. Known as Deana’s Law, the amendment was signed into law in July 2022 but did not go into effect until November 2022. If you are charged with a second or subsequent DUI offense, it is important to know what penalties you may face if you are convicted, and you should speak to a Pennsylvania DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Changes to the DUI Provisions of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code
Act 59 of 2022, sometimes referred to as Deanna’s law, amended section 3803 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code to increase the grading of certain DUI offenses, subsequently allowing for the imposition of greater penalties for such violations. Act 59 of 2022 was named Deanna’s law in honor of Deana DeRosa Eckman of Delaware County, who was killed by an intoxicated motorist with six prior DUI convictions.
Pursuant to the modifications, the following offenses will be charged as a felony of the third degree if the defendant has two prior DUI convictions and a felony of the second degree if the defendant has three or more DUI offenses: DUI general impairment, if the defendant refused to submit to a breath or chemical test; DUI with a BAC of .16 or higher; and, DUI involving controlled substances. Notably, Felonies of the third degree are punishable by up to seven years in prison, and felonies of the second degree are punishable by up to ten years in prison. Continue reading