Driving under the influence is a troublingly common offense in America today. Perhaps you know of a friend or family member who has been arrested for drunk driving—possibly even on more than one occasion. But have you ever known of someone with eight DUI arrests?
A Pennsylvania man who recently pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide has been arrested a total of eight times since 1981. The eighth and most recent of these arrests stemmed from a 2013 drunk driving accident in which a young motorcyclist was killed.
Even the judge presiding over the plea hearing remarked that it was practically absurd that the defendant had been arrested for drunk driving so often. In half of his arrests, the man’s blood alcohol level was at least three times the legal limit, and in the two most recent incidents, he was driving without a license.
The district attorney prosecuting the case has recommended that Pennsylvania lawmakers consider legislation to prevent repeat offenders from further endangering other drivers. His proposal is to raise the state’s mandatory minimum sentence for vehicular homicide while driving under the influence to seven years per fatality where the accused has previously been arrested at least three times for DUI.
Currently, the minimum sentence in Pennsylvania is three to six years. In comparison, the defendant in this case served no more than 90 days in prison for each of his first six arrests, and eight months for the seventh arrest in 2009.
Opponents of mandatory minimum sentencing claim that tougher laws do little to curb crime, but the parents of the victim of the drunk driving accident who was killed in the 2013 crash support the district attorney’s proposal.
Where prevention fails, however, the best course of action for victims and their loved ones is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can assist in pursuing a claim against wrongdoers.