Senate Approves Rafferty Legislation to Correct State DUI Laws


Legislation that would close a loophole in current state law that has allowed repeat DUI offenders to avoid tougher penalties had been passed by the Senate and now goes to the governor for his approval.

Sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chair John Rafferty (R-44), Senate Bill 1239 would allow prosecutors to charge DUI suspects as repeat offenders if they are re-arrested for additional DUIs before a conviction for the original offense takes place.

Rafferty introduced the bill after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a motorist who had been arrested twice in the same night for driving while intoxicated could only be charged as having committed a first offense.

“This loophole makes it possible for a person to commit multiple DUIs and be sentenced as if each DUI was a first offense,” Rafferty said.  “My bill will correct this and ensure that those who repeatedly drive drunk are held accountable for each offense.”

In addition, the bill was amended to allow residents whose conviction on drug offenses led to a driver’s license suspension years after the offense to receive a special license allowing them to drive to work.

“Many clerk of courts have started to review their files to see if they failed to properly report PennDOT suspensions that took place many years ago,” Rafferty said.  “As a result many individuals who committed crimes as long as a decade ago are having their licenses forfeited and risk losing their jobs.”

He said the change would only apply to those cases from 2004 to the effective date, and would not apply to any cases moving forward.

CONTACT: Ryan Boop  (717) 787-1398