A new law that will allow police and prosecutors to punish some of those accused of drunk driving more harshly than in years past just went in to effect here in Pennsylvania.

College students who may be remaining in the Indiana, Pennsylvania area for the holidays, as well as locals who may have plans to celebrate the New Year, should be aware of this new law.

The law will allow prosecutors to charge and convict certain repeat drunk drivers as felons. Specifically, if a person has two prior convictions, then they may face a felony charge should they be arrested for DUI again.

Likewise, anyone with three or more prior convictions may face a felony DUI charge. This law will apply to all drunk driving charges, even those that do not involve accidents and have no obvious aggravating circumstances.

The law also will make the sentence for killing someone while driving drunk longer, with a minimum of five to seven years. Currently, a person convicted of homicide by DUI must be sentenced to three years in prison. It is important to note that this new law applies even to first-time offenders who have the misfortune of being involved in a fatal accident while over the legal limit.

This new law just gives those accused of DUI even more reasons to defend against such charges if they should wind up facing them. Someone who has been in trouble for drunk driving before, for instance, may need help avoiding a felony conviction and, along with it, substantial jail time. A DUI defense attorney can be very helpful in evaluating one’s legal options.