The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

New DUI Law Poses Problems for Repeat Offenders

Pa DUI lawyers are facing a new challenge in the courts.

Several new laws are in the state legislature, all imposing harsher penalties for driving under the influence.

Earlier in this blog, we talked about state Representative Tom Houghton and his bid to propose harsher legislation involving ignition interlock for DUI offenders.

Now, another state politician has introduced legislation which would change the way DUI offenders can be sentenced.

State Representative Seth Grove, R-Dover, introduced legislation in February. The legislation would allow the courts to sentence as repeat offenders, those offenders arrested for a second DUI even if they haven't yet been convicted of the first offense.

The legislation, House Bill 2261, stems from a state Supreme Court ruling where a Dover Township man was charged with two consecutive DUIs within 90 minutes. Although the man pleaded guilty to both charges, he received a light sentence for his second DUI.

The court's reasoning was that the man had not yet been convicted of the first offense at the time he committed the second. Hence, he was not technically a repeat offender at the time he committed his second DUI.

The house bill, as proposed by Rep. Seth Grove, would also allow for the seizure of vehicles from habitual DUI offenders.

For Pennsylvania DUI attorneys, this bill presents some challenges. It essentially closes a loophole that was available to habitual DUI offenders. As a result of the legislation, a repeat DUI offender would find that the courts may be significantly less lenient with regards to a second DUI offense, even if the first one has not yet been prosecuted.

This presents several issues in and of itself for Pa DUI lawyers and may likely undergo some challenge with regards to due process and other procedural issues.

"There are too many deaths and injuries on Pennsylvania roadways as a result of individuals driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol," said Grove.

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