The Philadelphia DUI Law Blog

Are Pennsylvania DUI Laws Harsh Enough for Repeat Offenders?

Pennsylvania doesn't take a hard stance on DUI, many feel. According to, not all DUI offenders receive the sentence they deserve, especially since some of them are serial DUI offenders.

In one instance, PhillyBurbs points out that a nine-time offender received a sentence of 15 to 30 months in state prison. The man, Robert Oxenford, was one of four men in Bucks County facing DUI charges over the span of three days.

And what's shocking is that this recidivist DUI offender received the lightest sentence of them all.

The other three offenders were each sentenced to one to three years in prison. According to PhillyBurbs, Pennsylvania is a rare state where recidivist DUI offenders don't become felony DUI offenders. Translation: In Pennsylvania, being a repeat offender won't rise to the level of a felony, which means that the maximum sentence a judge can impose on a DUI case is five years in prison.

In Bucks County, DUI is the most common crime.

PhillyBurbs goes on to address the legal structure of DUI law in Pennsylvania, showing why DUIs aren't as harshly penalized as many feel they should be.

Currently, Pennsylvania DUI laws are set up around the amount of alcohol in one's system, with a mention of the number of prior DUI convictions. For many, however, those laws aren't harsh enough.

Although there is a maximum DUI sentence of 5 years for first degree misdemeanor DUIs, that sentence is rare. These sentences are reserved for repeat DUI offenders who fit into the Highest BAC category. But the ten-year lookback period sometimes allows repeat DUI offenders to escape this classification as far as sentencing is concerned.

Felony DUI charges are often reserved for more serious offenses, including DUI homicide or aggravated assault by vehicle. Aside from that, there aren't even laws in place for regular aggravated DUI, such as a DUI with aggravated factors (speeding, having children in the car, or other factors).

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