Drivers who have previous DUI convictions on their records are likely to face harsh penalties. Yet a recent decision made by the Pennsylvania state Senate could make those penalties even tougher. In a 43-6 vote, the bill will now pass to the House and could likely become law.
But what exactly does this new bill propose?
A change in DUI penalties
Currently, those who have multiple DUI offenses only face up to five years in jail depending on their blood alcohol concentration level. However, this new legislation changes that significantly.
Offenders found guilty of a DUI with four convictions on their record could face up to 10 years in prison. Those who have five or more could be facing anywhere between 10 and 20 years behind bars.
In addition, drivers with three or more DUIs will have to wear devices that monitor blood alcohol levels through perspiration. While these machines are no more or less reliable than breathalyzers, the results can still help monitor and hopefully prevent someone from committing another DUI offense.
Should the bill pass into law, it will be known as Deana’s Law. This name originates from a victim of a drunk driving collision, Deana Eckman.
In February of 2019, a man with five past DUI convictions crashed head-on with Deana’s vehicle, killing her. At the time of the crash, the man was on probation for one of his DUIs.
Pros and cons to the new bill
Members of the Pennsylvania government are conflicted over the new proposed bill. On the one hand, the bill would ensure that repeat DUI offenders cannot threaten the safety of other drivers on the road.
On the other hand, however, some government officials have voiced their concerns over the potential ineffectiveness that long prison sentences will have on these offenders. They also point out that the increase in inmates and jail time durations will also negatively affect taxpayers.
If this new bill does pass, repeat offenders will have harsher penalties to deal with, and the already life-changing consequences may become even more so.