Drunken driving is a serious problem affecting highway safety, and state are always looking for better ways to address the problem, whether through better public education, enhanced enforcement efforts, or passing stricter laws. Pennsylvania lawmakers, as Pittsburgh readers may be aware, have been working to get tougher laws in place to fight DUI, though with limited success.
Over the last two years, lawmakers attempted to pass over 20 drunken driving measures, including education and prevention requirements and tougher sentencing options. Only one measure was signed into law in that time, and that was a requirement that first-time DUI offenders install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles.
A number of measures have been reintroduced this year, one of which would allow an individual who causes the death of another as a result of drunken driving and who has more than two previous offenses to be charged with felony homicide. It remains to seen whether this measure, or any others that are being reintroduced, will gain wide support among lawmakers.
DUI penalties can be significantly disruptive to an individual’s life, particularly when an individual has prior offenses on his or her record. Those who have been charged with a drunken driving offense should, of course, always work with an experienced attorney to build the strongest possible defense case. In any drunken driving case, an experienced advocate will work to ensure that the defendant’s rights are protected and that the government is held to its full burden of proof.
In a future post, we’ll look at how the government builds drunken driving cases and how an experienced attorney can work to build a sound defense in these cases.