Pennsylvania's new DUI law imposes stiffer penalties

Date: February 7, 2019

Pennsylvania has a new law that makes a third DUI offense a felony. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed Act 153 of 2018 on October 24, 2018. The law took effect December 23, 2018. Until this law, Pennsylvania was one of four states that treated repeated DUI offenses as misdemeanors, regardless of how many convictions the offender had. 

The law also imposes stiffer penalties for “aggravated assault by vehicle while driving under the influence” if also convicted of related offenses such as driving illegally under a DUI-related license suspension.

Under the old law, “homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence” was a felony of the second degree, and carried a mandatory minimum sentence of three years per victim.  Act 153 carries mandatory minimum sentences based on prior offenses. Anyone with a prior DUI or felony serious traffic offense faces a felony of the first degree and a five-year mandatory minimum.  Anyone with two or more prior DUIs, felony serious traffic offenses, or any combination thereof, faces a felony of the first degree and a seven-year mandatory minimum.  

The law also adds a requirement that any otherwise qualified licensed driver accompanying a learner’s permit driver may not be impaired by alcohol and risk endangering their own and others’ lives. 

Learn more:

Legislative Summary of Act 153 of 2018