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Scranton, PA

A new law took effect this morning at midnight, December 23, 2018 strengthening the laws for those who drink and drive. The York County District Attorney’s office credited in large part to the advocacy of PA Parents Against Impaired Driving, including York County residents Paul & Elaine Miller and Missy Sweitzer.

The founders of PA Parents Against Impaired Driving Chris and Susan Demko organized Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving after their 18-year-old daughter Meredith was killed in 2014 said in a statment:

There are over 1,000,000 DUI offenders in Pennsylvania that are subject to this new law, with an estimated 25,000 – 30,000 first-time DUI offenders being added to this group on an annual basis.  Among this group of DUI offenders are 140,000 individuals with DUI-suspended driver licenses and an estimated 250,000 repeat DUI offenders.  Although most people learn from their mistakes, many do not.  In 2016, there were over 10,000 individuals convicted of their 2nd or subsequent DUI.  These individuals who choose to continue driving impaired or while under a DUI-suspended license are the highest risk offenders and the ones that will experience the increased penalties for their conscious decision to violate these DUI laws.

According to the York County District Attorney some of the changes to the law include the following:

  • A third DUI conviction, with a BAC of 0.16 or higher, within a 10 year period will now be a felony
  • A fourth DUI conviction within a 10 year period, regardless of the BAC level, will now be a felony
  • Homicide by Vehicle while DUI now carries a five-year prison sentence if the driver has a prior DUI
  • Homicide by Vehicle while DUI for drivers with two or more prior DUI’s would carry a sentence of seven years
  • Penalties for driving while under suspension for DUI convictions also set to increase

The District Attorney’s office in Lackawanna County released a statement saying, “Drinking and driving can have devastating consequences, and the legal consequences are increasing in severity effective Sunday. This holiday season, PLEASE don’t drink and drive.” imploring drives to avoid the consequences of drinking and driving.

The Stroud Area Regional Police commented on the new law saying, “Nothing personal…We don’t want to spend the holiday with you.”