HARRISBURG – Repeat DUI offenders could face tougher punishments under legislation introduced today by Senator Scott Martin (R-13).
Martin’s legislation would mandate at least two years of jail time for any individual convicted of more than two DUIs in a 10-year period, with harsher sentences for offenses that lead to the death of another person. Under Martin’s bill, a repeat offender who causes the death of another person as a result of a DUI could be charged with a first-degree felony.
“It should be clear by now that Pennsylvania’s DUI laws are inadequate and ineffective at preventing repeat offenders from getting behind the wheel and endangering every other motorist on the road,” Martin said. “We have seen far too many tragedies in which innocent citizens have been victimized by the recklessness of others. We need to make sure repeat offenders face a punishment that matches the dangerous nature of the crime.”
More than half of all Pennsylvanians who lose their license due to a DUI conviction are repeat offenders. Martin cited a number of tragic cases in which innocent motorists and pedestrians were injured or killed by intoxicated individuals who had prior DUI offenses:
- In 2014, 18-year-old Meredith Demko was driving home in the middle of the afternoon when she was killed by an individual who was drunk, high on heroin, and driving on a suspended license due to a prior DUI conviction.
- In 2013, volunteer Fire Chief Rodney Miller was killed by a repeat hit-and-run/repeat drunk driver. At the time of his death, he was responding to an earlier DUI-related crash in which the driver was drunk, high, and driving on a suspended license.
- Also in 2013, 24-year-old Liam Crowley was killed by a drunk driver with a suspended license and five prior DUI convictions. According to the Chester County District Attorney, the driver would have been eligible to drive legally as early as 2012 if he had completed the proper paperwork.
“These tragedies have left a trail of devastated family and friends who had a loved one taken from them far too soon,” Martin said. “We can and should do more to keep our roads clear of the most dangerous offenders who have no regard for the lives and safety of their fellow motorists.”
CONTACT: Terry Trego (717) 787-6535