The Pennsylvania Senate introduced Senate Bill 1239, which purports to fix the issue that stemmed from Commonwealth v. Musau, 69 A.3d 754 (2013). You can read about the case, which reduced the maximum sentences for certain DUI offenses from 5 years down to 6 months, at our previous blog article here.
The Act, which is now in the Transportation Committee, proposes to change the wording in 75 Pa.C.S. § 3803(a) from “Nothwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b)” to “Except as provided in subsection (b)”. 3803(b) states that a second or subsequent DUI where the defendant refused a BAC test is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Misdemeanors of the first degree are punishable by up to five years incarceration. As the law currently is, and as was at issue in Musau, a defendant who is guilty of a second or subsequent DUI who refused a BAC test can only be sentenced to a maximum of six months incarceration and cannot be punished to the full extent that any other misdemeanor of the first degree allows, because of the “Notwithstanding” wording. If the bill is passed into law, these defendants could be incarcerated for up to five years.
Click here to read the text of Senate Bill 1239.