Driving under the influence (DUI) can have devastating consequences for the driver and other motorists. In Pennsylvania, a DUI that results in a homicide is a particularly egregious crime and carries harsh penalties.
Under Pennsylvania law, a person can receive a DUI homicide charge if they cause the death of another person while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. See below for more about the penalties for vehicular homicide under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Mandatory minimum sentences
According to the Statutes of Pennsylvania, the crime is a second-degree felony, with a mandatory minimum prison sentence of three years. In addition to the mandatory prison sentence, the driver will face fines of up to $25,000, suspension of their driver’s license and a permanent criminal record. Penalties increase if the driver has prior DUI convictions. For example, the minimum prison sentence for one prior conviction is five years.
Pain and suffering
Furthermore, the penalties for DUI homicide in Pennsylvania are not just legal. The emotional toll on the driver and the victim’s family can be devastating. In addition to the grief and loss experienced by the victim’s family, the driver may experience long-lasting emotional trauma and guilt.
Moreover, Pennsylvania law also allows for civil penalties against the driver for their actions. The victim’s family can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver, seeking damages for their loss. This might include compensation for medical bills, funeral costs, lost income and pain and suffering.
The penalties for a DUI homicide in Pennsylvania are severe, and rightfully so. Understanding the serious consequences of driving under the influence and the harm it can cause to other road users is essential.