Drivers who repeatedly drive while intoxicated, even after getting multiple DUI convictions, put themselves and others at risk.
Drunk driving is a major cause of car crashes that kill and maim people throughout Pennsylvania. In 2017, the department of transportation (PennDOT) recorded 12,040 crashes where a driver was suspected of being impaired, a 2.1 percent increase from 2016.
With the holiday drinking season in full swing, Pennsylvania lawmakers have voted to increase penalties for repeat DUI offenders. On December 23, 2018, a law went into effect that increases penalties for those with a third conviction of driving with at least twice the legal limit of alcohol in their system, and for anyone with fourth DUI convictions. In addition, mandatory jail time for repeat offenders is longer.
If you or a loved one was injured or if someone has died in a crash involving drunk driving, you may have a claim for compensation for your losses. This includes medical, hospital and rehabilitation costs, lost past and future wages, loss of wage horizon, and other economic expenses. Compensation may also include the even more significant concept of non-economic damages such as loss of life’s pleasures, pain and suffering, disfigurement, loss of family relationships, consortium, society and services. A host of other damages are involved in connection with wrongful death and survival actions.
However, Pennsylvania laws are complex, and your case must be handled correctly and competently or you may never collect the compensation you are entitled to. It makes sense to get legal representation before you talk to an insurance company in order to protect your rights and maximize the compensation you receive.
Attorney Clifford A. Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann knows the courts, the insurance companies, the system, and what you need to do to increase your chances of winning a good settlement. Our attorneys have successfully represented people who have been harmed in crashes involving drunk drivers throughout Pennsylvania. Call or contact us online today to set up your free consultation.
Pennsylvania DUI Laws
Pennsylvania already had strict DUI laws on the books. There is a three-tier system with penalties increasing as blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) increase from .08, to .10, to .159, to .16 or higher.
Penalties and jail time increase with each subsequent DUI, with a look-back period of 10 years:
- First offense — no minimum jail time required and offenders can be fined $300.
- Second offense — jail up to 6 months, a fine of $300 to $2,500, and a 12-month license suspension.
- Third offense — up to 2 years’ jail time, fines of up to $5,000, and a 12-month license suspension.
The new legislation has established the state’s first felony for DUI. It applies when someone has been charged with a third offense in a decade with at least twice the legal limit for alcohol or for any fourth-time offense. There are increased fines and penalties for driving under the influence on a license suspended because of a DUI conviction and longer jail time for those who unintentionally cause someone’s death because of a repeat DUI violation.
Will Tougher Laws Help?
According to Pennlive.com, there are about 250,000 repeat DUI offenders in Pennsylvania and about 140,000 persons whose licenses are currently suspended because of a DUI.
While the new laws provide drivers with an additional reason not to drive while impaired for potential first-time offenders, it may not do much to stop habitual and addicted substance abusers. However, increased penalties may take some of the worst offenders off the road for a longer period of time once they are caught.
If You Are in a Crash
Survivors of a drunk driving accident may be left with serious and debilitating injuries that can change their life forever. Since anyone who operates a motor vehicle is required to drive responsibly and practice safe driving habits, DUI drivers must be held responsible for injuries they cause. In addition to criminal charges for being impaired, drivers may be sued for negligence in a civil suit. If the at-fault driver receives a DUI citation, it can positively affect your civil lawsuit, including allowing you to receive punitive damages, which are not covered by insurance.
Where drunk drivers are concerned, limited tort options may not apply. The Financial Responsibility Law is an important and complex piece of legislation which governs recovery where there has been an auto collision. The equation changes when a drunk driver is involved. Drunk driving may also lead to punitive damages.
Contact us For Help and Guidance
If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury or someone has died from a vehicle crash caused by an impaired driver, you are entitled to compensation for your damages. However, Pennsylvania personal injury laws are complex, and insurance companies will try to get you to accept the lowest settlement possible. In order to get the best settlement possible, you need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to guide you through the process.
The seasoned Pennsylvania DUI personal injury attorney Cliff Rieders of Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann, is a Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. Rieders has won numerous awards and recognition from the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, and he received the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority recognition award. He was a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority and served on same for 15 years.
Rieders was a Law Clerk in the federal court system for one of the most well-known and longest serving federal judges in the country, the Honorable Malcolm Muir. Cliff has received the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, as well as the Milton D. Rosenberg Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. He is on committees and organizations that write the law in many fields of practice and was involved in the writing of the Mcare Act, which governs medical liability actions in Pennsylvania.
Cliff Rieders wrote “the book” on medical malpractice that lawyers use in the Commonwealth. Cliff also teaches the subject of medical malpractice at seminars attended by the leading lawyers in the state. Cliff Rieders is recognized as an outstanding authority in both the financial responsibility medical malpractice fields. Cliff has testified before the legislature on medical malpractice laws and has supported organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Rieders is a Nationally Board-certified specialist for Civil Trial and Civil Practice and Procedure, a cum laude graduate of New York University as well as Georgetown University Law Center. Rieders is admitted in Pennsylvania, New York State, District of Columbia and numerous federal courts including the Supreme Court of the United States and is a life member of the American Law Institute which publishes recommended legal principles utilized throughout the United States.
Cliff Rieders is the lawyer that other lawyers call for counsel and advice in the medical and hospital malpractice and pharmaceutical/vitamin supplement fields. He does substantial work in multi-district litigation in connection with pharmaceutical products and medical devices.
Based in Williamsport, the DUI personal injury attorney Clifford A. Rieders at Rieders, Travis, Humphrey, Waters & Dohrmann serves clients throughout Pennsylvania, offering a free consultation on all personal injury matters. More than that, we offer you experience, knowledge, compassion, and a long history of results.
Do not delay. Contact us online or call our offices today to set up your free consultation.