On July 6, 2012 a new statute in Pennsylvania will make it a crime to drive DUI while having a person in the car under the age of 18. And the hits keeping coming, you're probably thinking. Over the years, the Pennsylvania legislature has pulled, twisted, prodded, and changed the law to the point to where the next step may be a law that prohibits even thinking about a car after you've been drinking. The actual law is Pa.C.S.A. 75 Sec. 3803(5) which reads, in pertinent part:
DUI Penalties Escalate When Minors Are In The Car
(5) An individual who violates section 3802 (the actual DUI law itself) where a minor under 18 years of age was an occupant in the vehicle when the violation occurred commits a misdemeanor of the first degree. The penalties involved do not involve a driver's license suspension. It does involve fines. Where they really get you is here - for a first offense there is a requirement that the defendant perform 100 community service hours (which is almost as bad as jail itself); a second offense calls for a minimum of 30 days in jail; a third offense carries with it a term of incarceration of not less than 6 (six) months nor more than 2 (two) years. As a Montgomery County Criminal lawyer as well as a Montgomery County Dui Lawyer, I can tell you that this provision will apply to a lot of people charged with DUI. Almost every kid coming home from a party that gets charged with a DUI has other kids in the car with him. This is just one example. If you've read this, you now know the new law, but most people have no idea it is on the books. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Stay safe.