New PA DUI Laws 2022
PA House Bill 773 (2022), also known as Deana’s Law,” was approved by Governor Tom Wolf on July 11, 2022 and became EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 9, 2022 (120 days from July 11, 2022).
2022 Act 29 increases the grading and penalties of DUI convictions for certain repeat DUI offenders.
What Has Changed?
1) Addition of 2nd Degree Felony for Certain Repeat DUI Offenders
Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are governed by 75 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 3802 (Driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance).
The grading (seriousness of the charge, e.g., felony or misdemeanor) is controlled by § 3803 (Grading).
NEW LAW (EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 9, 2022)
In § 3803(b)(4.1), the new law increases the grading from a felony of the third degree to a felony of the second degree (more serious) “if the individual has three or more prior offenses.”
Here is the new law: § 3803(b)(4.1) An individual who violates section 3802(a)(1) [general impairment] where the individual refused testing of breath or chemical testing pursuant to a valid search warrant, court order or any other basis permissible by the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Pennsylvania, OR who violates section 3802(c) [related to highest rate of alcohol] OR (d) [related to controlled substances] commits (i) A felony of the third degree if the individual has two prior offenses. (ii) A felony of the second degree if the individual has three or more prior offenses.
In Pennsylvania, a conviction for a felony of the third degree can mean a fine of not less than $2,500 nor exceeding $15,000, or imprisonment not exceeding seven years, or both. A conviction for a felony of the second degree, can mean a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $25,000, or imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both (see §923(a)(8) and (a)(9)).
2) Consecutive Sentences for Repeat Offenders
In Pennsylvania, criminal sentences imposed for multiple convictions can be “concurrent,” which means that the “clock” for both sentences (e.g., 5 years and 10 years) starts at the same time – they expire simultaneously.
Sentences can also be “consecutive,” which means that the clock for conviction 2 does not start until the clock for conviction 1 has expired – they expire consecutively.
NEW LAW (EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 9, 2022)
The new law mandates that any newly imposed DUI sentences be imposed consecutively if the individual has two or more prior offenses (with one exception noted below). This addition will be added as § 3804(c.2) under to the existing “Penalties” part of the law.
Here is the new law: (c.2) Consecutive sentence.– A sentence imposed upon an individual under this section who has two or more prior offenses shall be served consecutively to any other sentence the individual is serving and to any other sentence being then imposed by the court, except for those with which the offense must merge as a matter of law.
3) Sentencing Enhancement
Additionally, the new law added § 3804(c.3) to the existing “Penalties” part of the law which provides for a sentencing enhancement for a conviction under § 3803(b)(4.1) “where the individual has four or more prior offenses.” This means the possible penalty a judge may impose under these conditions can exceed the normal penalty.
First-degree misdemeanor DUI convictions as well as 3rd and 2nd degree felony DUI convictions require an 18-month license suspension under the new law (under § 3804(e)(2)(ii) – Penalties.)
If you are facing a DUI charge as a repeat offender, give our law office a call to speak directly with an experienced Pittsburgh DUI Lawyer. We can help you understand what penalties you are facing, and what we can do to minimize or eliminate them. Call 24/7 at 412-969-2540 for a free consultation.