A drunk driving charge is something that every Pennsylvania driver should take seriously. Too often, people think they will pay a fine and put the event behind them. And even if someone receives probation, jail time or license suspension, it can be easy to assume that once you get past all that, you can easily move on from a DUI.
However, the truth is that even one DUI can have a dramatic impact on your future, particularly if it is not the last one you receive. In fact, the penalties for repeat drunk driving violations are quite harsh, and they are getting harsher, thanks to new DUI legislation in Pennsylvania.
What the new legislation says
As noted in reports, the new bill, which the Pennsylvania Legislature passed and the governor is expected to approve, reflects tougher penalties for drivers with three or more DUI convictions.
The bill establishes the first felony DUI offense for people a third DUI conviction with a blood alcohol level of at least 0.16, or twice the legal limit, as well as people who receive a fourth DUI conviction.
The bill also increases the penalties for a repeat drunk driver who, as a result of a subsequent DUI offense, unintentionally causes the death of another person.
Understanding how this affects all drivers
It can seem tempting to assume this legislation will not affect you if you have fewer than two or three DUI convictions. However, every person with a repeat DUI conviction received a first one.
This means that every DUI charge must be taken seriously -- even if it's your first one. Avoiding conviction can mean avoiding the potential for a repeat violation and harsher consequences in the future.
Whether you are charged with your first DUI or a repeat violation, you must know that a conviction will affect your life. Having legal representation throughout your case can help you defend yourself and work to reduce or minimize the adverse impact a DUI charge may have.