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New Pennsylvania Law Increases Certain DUI Punishments

Each year, the Pennsylvania legislature considers news laws and potential punishments that would impact those convicted of a DUI. Many of these laws do not pass, but those that do generally place more restrictions on a person who was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This year is no exception. A bill recently signed into law will increase penalties for those who are driving drunk while minor passengers are in the vehicle.

The law, sponsored by state Senator John Rafferty, makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to be driving under the influence with minors in the car. A first offense will result in a maximum $1000 fine, along with 100 hours of community service.

A second offense will increase the fine to a potential maximum of $2500, and also a possibility of six months in jail. If the offender has three or more DUI convictions when minor passengers are in the vehicle, he or she is facing at least six months in jail with a maximum two-year sentence.

These punishments will be added to any that are received for the DUI conviction. The new law is similar to that in many other states, and could be strengthened if legislators feel that it is not reducing the number of drunk drivers on area roads.

Those facing DUI charges need to take the matter seriously. Prosecutors will aggressively handle these cases, especially when there are child passengers in the vehicle.

A conviction for DUI could have a lasting effect on several areas of your life, including the ability to find and keep a job, and may also result in increased insurance costs and other expenses. It is important to know what options are available to you, because you are the one who has to live with the consequences.

Source: Reading Eagle "New law raises some drunken-driving penalties" May 12, 2012.

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