Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence
Act 153 of 2018, which went into effect on December 23, 2018, has significantly increased penalties for certain DUI offenders. Those charged with Homicide by Vehicle While Driving Under the Influence (D”DUI”) are directly affected by these changes. Act 153, raised the minimum mandatory sentence for those who have at least one prior DUI conviction and are convicted of Homicide by Vehicle while DUI. Prior to this Act, a conviction for Homicide by Vehicle while DUI resulted in a 3-year minimum mandatory sentence. The law did not consider any prior DUI history. As a result of Act 153, the increase in penalties for a conviction of Homicide by Vehicle while DUI (if you have any prior DUIs) is significant – either 5 or 7 years minimum for each victim whose death was caused by driving under the influence.
Penalties for Homicide by Vehicle while DUI
In Pennsylvania, the crime of Homicide by a Vehicle while Driving Under the Influence is set forth in § 3735 of Title 75. The law states that any “person who unintentionally causes the death of another person as the result of a violation of section 3802 (relating to driving under influence of alcohol or controlled substance) and who is convicted of violating section 3802” is guilty of a felony. In addition to the minimum mandatory prison sentence (listed below), a conviction would also result in the suspension of driving privileges for 3 years.
- No Prior DUI: Felony of the Second Degree and 3 year minimum mandatory.
- One Prior DUI: Felony of the First Degree- 5 yeas minimum mandatory
- Two or More Prior DUIs: Felony of the First Degree – 7 year minimum mandatory
What is considered a prior DUI offense?
The law does not limit “a prior” to only an adult DUI conviction. A prior DUI is broadly defined and includes:
- Juvenile adjudication
- Juvenile consent decree
- ARD (even if successfully completed and expunged)
- Other diversion program
A prior is not limited to DUIs committed in the State of Pennsylvania. The definition includes any similar crime that was committed in another state or jurisdiction.