Repeat DUI offenders targeted in newly passed Senate bill

HARRISBURG – Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) hailed the passage of a new measure that would increase penalties and require the use of new technology to strictly monitor repeat DUI offenders as a way to curb a major problem in York County and the southcentral Pennsylvania region.

Senate Bill 773, also known as Deana’s Law, was named in memory of Deana Eckman, a Delaware County woman who was killed by a drunk driver who had five previous DUI convictions.

It would require people arrested for a third or subsequent DUI to wear continuous alcohol monitoring (CAM) devices. Similar to home arrest monitors, breathalyzers and other devices, CAM devices are strapped to the wearer. 

CAM devices will randomly sample the wearer’s perspiration for alcohol and transmit the results to a court-designated monitoring agency.

Some counties in the state already use the alcohol monitoring devices on a voluntarily basis and have seen sharp declines in DUI recidivism.

“We want those who have an issue with alcoholism and abuse to seek the help they desperately need, but they should never imperil the lives of innocent Pennsylvanians,” Phillips-Hill said. “Deana’s Law will provide law enforcement and prosecutors with more tools to keep these irresponsible individuals off the road.”

The legislation would also:

  • Increase jail time for those convicted of three DUIs or more. Those convicted of a fourth offense would be subject to a five-to-10 year sentence rather than the current three-and-a-half to seven years. Fifth and subsequent DUI convictions would expose the felony offender to a 10-to-20 year penalty rather than the current three-and-a-half to seven years.
  • Require that those convicted of a third DUI offense serve the sentence for that offense consecutively to any other sentence the offender is serving and to any other sentence to be imposed by the court.
  • Increase from one to two years the required period for anti-DUI interlock devices on any vehicle operated by a person with three or more DUI convictions.

Senate Bill 773 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.

You can listen to Senator Phillips-Hill’s comments here.