The Pennsylvania Legislature recently closed a loophole in the DUI statute which will result in harsher sentences for repeat DUI offenders. The loophole was created by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision in Commonwealth v. Haag in 2009. The Court in Haag said that a defendant could not be sentenced as a repeat DUI offender unless he had been sentenced on his prior DUI offense before the subsequent DUI offense occurred. The Haag ruling resulted in defendants receiving significantly reduced sentences for multiple DUI’s because they could be sentenced on multiple DUI’s without facing the recidivist penalties. In other words, a person could hypothetically have two pending DUI cases (technically a first and second DUI) and only be sentenced as having two first DUIs. Therefore, a person would not be penalized for having more than one pending DUI.
In October of 2014, Section 3806 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code was amended to state that the look back period for prior convictions is from the time of sentencing on the present DUI. Therefore, if a person has more than one pending DUI, each DUI will count as a subsequent offense. A defendant can no longer be sentenced for multiple first, second or third offenses during the same period of time. Thus, the same person who before had two pending DUIs and was sentenced to two first DUIs, will now be sentenced to a first and second DUI.
These increased penalties mean that it is even more important that you are represented by a competent attorney if you have multiple pending DUI’s. We want to help you. Contact our Berks County DUI lawyers at 610-372-5128 or submit your case using the “Ask an attorney” link.