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A recent Pennsylvania bill introduced by State Senator Scott Martin asks for stiffer penalties for DUI offenders. The bill would require any person with two DUIs or more within 10 years to serve at least two years in prison and face a maximum fine of $15,000. As of 2017, the current minimum sentence for offenders with two DUIs is 10 days in jail. The new bill would also call for a charge of felony homicide if a drunk driver with two or more DUIs causes the death of another person.
On July 8, 2014, the daughter of Chris and Susan Demko, 18-year old Meredith, lost her life to a drunk driver. The driver in that incident was Thomas Gallagher, who had two previous DUIs on his record along with a suspended driver’s license. According to reports, Gallagher’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit, and he had heroin in his system. Gallagher struck a plea deal where he plead guilty to third-degree murder.
The Demkos and other families who lost loved ones to drunk drivers are part of a collaborative effort to push for stiffer DUI penalties in Pennsylvania. The Demkos and others represent a group called Pennsylvania Parents Against Impaired Driving, which saw some of their work rewarded when Pennsylvania governor, Tom Wolf, signed a bill requiring first-time DUI offenders to install interlock devices in their cars. The bill was a nice win for the group, but many legal experts still say Pennsylvania has some of the weakest DUI laws in the nation.
House Republican Keith Greiner plans to reintroduce a bill that would make it a third-degree felony for anyone who has committed three DUI offenses in a 10-year period. The bill is part of a series of 13 bills created to impose harsh penalties on DUI offenders and to help promote stronger preventive measures. Representative Greiner and other representatives called the state’s existing laws totally inadequate and ineffective. Greiner is part of a group who believes that imposing and enforcing tough DUI laws should be a legislative priority. However, the only legislative measure approved thus far is the new interlock device law. Chris Demko and his wife believe the law is a good starting point, and they feel there will be less drunk driving incidents because of the new law.
Drunk driving accidents have a history of causing severe injuries and even being fatal. If you or a loved one is injured in a drunk driving accident, reach out to Pennsylvania Car Accident Lawyers. We have the resources to get you in touch with a drunk driving accident attorney in your area that can help you seek compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.