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Pennsylvania drunk driving bill makes it to the House

If a person gets arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Pennsylvania, it doesn't necessarily mean that a conviction will occur. Before that can be determined, an entire adjudication process must take place, which includes the defendant's guaranteed right to dispute the charges in court. The Pennsylvania Senate recently advanced a bill to the House that will increase penalties for repeat drunk driving offenders.

Senator John Rafferty sponsored the bill that passed in a landslide 45-4 vote. The senator claims that at least one third of people charged or convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol are people who have been arrested for or convicted of DUI in the past. A motorist in Pennsylvania who takes a life in a collision determined to have been caused by the driver's intoxication will face a mandatory three-year sentence behind bars.

Senator Rafferty's bill would increase that time to five years for a second offense and two additional years for a repeat offender with more than two convictions. The newly proposed law would include a consecutive sentence for each fatally injured victim. Since the court takes past convictions into consideration, it is often very difficult to avoid a similar outcome as a repeat offender.

Especially in situations where evidence of a personal rights violation exists, it may be possible to seek a case dismissal or at least to request that certain evidence be ruled inadmissible. Understanding one's rights and knowing which options to apply to a particular situation can be challenging. This is why most Pennsylvania motorists charged with drunk driving rely on experienced and aggressive legal defense in court.

Source:, "Pennsylvania Senate advances bill targeting repeat DUI offenders", Joshua Vaughan, April 19, 2018

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