EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — PennDOT announced Tuesday that a new Pennsylvania law has changed the grading for driving under the influence (DUI), adding more stringent penalties for these violations.

The legislation created Act 59 of 2022 – referred to as “Deana’s Law” – which amends the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code by increasing the grading for certain DUI offenses.

Requiring consecutive sentencing for certain repeat DUI offenders, and imposing an 18-month driving privilege suspension for a DUI conviction graded as a felony of the second degree.

Under the new law, a person charged with DUI who refuses a breath or chemical test or who is charged with DUI with a BAC of .16 or higher or a DUI involving controlled substances, and already has the following number of prior offenses, commits:

  • A felony of the third degree for two prior offenses (previously two or more prior offenses); and
  • A felony of the second degree for three or more prior offenses (previously a third-degree felony).

The felonies mentioned above are classified as:

  • A felony of the third degree is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than seven years.
  • A felony of the second degree is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years.    

Under this law, a sentence imposed on a person for a DUI offense who has two or more prior offenses shall be served consecutively to any other sentence the individual is serving or any other sentence imposed by the court. Except for violations that are required to be merged.

In addition, the law provides for a sentencing enhancement in cases where an individual has four or more prior DUI offenses.

“Driving impaired puts everyone at risk, and repeat offenders disregard the risk they pose every time they get behind the wheel impaired. This law enhances penalties for those individuals, and hopefully, they will think twice before reoffending,” stated Major Robert Krol, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol.

For more information on this law change, please visit the Driver and Vehicle Services website.