Right now, you can get an infinite number of DUI charges in a row, and they will always be misdemeanors in Pennsylvania. It does not matter if it is your first offense, your second offense or your tenth offense. There are no felony DUI charges in the state.
However, change may be on the way. A recent bill was proposed that would create felony charges, shifting toward a system many other states already use; in fact, only four states do not have felony DUI charges at this time. The bill has not passed into law yet, but it did get through the state Senate.
Here are a few highlights from the bill:
- A third DUI conviction within a 10-year span would be a felony. The same is true for a third conviction, without regard to time, if the person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at least .16.
- In every case, a fourth DUI conviction would be a felony.
- The penalties for causing a deadly accident while under the influence would increase. For instance, for those with a prior record of DUIs, the minimum sentence would jump from three years to five years. That's just for having one previous DUI.
- If someone has two or more DUI convictions on his or her record, that minimum sentence increases all the way to seven years behind bars.
- The penalties for continuing to drive even during a driver's license suspension would also increase.
Again, this bill is not a law at this time, but it is very important for residents to keep an eye on its status, as it could drastically change DUI cases in Pennsylvania.
Source: York Daily Record, "You can't get a felony for DUI in Pa. (But that might soon change)," April 19, 2018