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Pennsylvania drivers will see new, stiffer penalties for drunk driving – just in time for New Year’s celebrations. The future consequences will focus on “high-risk offenders” who continuously drive impaired or drive with a DUI-related suspended license.

The penalties went into effect Sunday, December 23rd. Many people, including lawmakers, police officers and activists, are hailing the new punishments as a significant step in fighting drunk drivers and possible fatalities.

What are the changes?

As previously mentioned, the changes hone in on high-risk offenders, and the penalties include:

1. A third DUI conviction results in a felony charge, which is a new level for Pennsylvania. The state previously did not treat repeat DUIs as a felony, despite the number of previous DUI convictions.

2. There are multiple penalties when it comes to homicide by vehicle and DUI. There will be a three-year minimum sentence, and a prior DUI will result in a minimum five-year sentence.

3. There will be increased penalties for offenses relating to driving on a suspended license after a DUI conviction.

The goal of stricter consequences for high-risk offenders is to attempt to reduce the amount of drunk driving in the state and the fatalities caused by drunk drivers. It will also warn new drivers about the extreme costs of getting behind the wheel while impaired.

With these new penalties, it’s more critical than ever to have a strong defense and proper representation while fighting a DUI charge. If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI, contact the Quinn Law Firm at 814-806-2518 to seek legal guidance from an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney.