ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
HB 2106 would allow the court to impose a determinate sentence for a violation under 75 Pa.C.S. § 1543(b) when a summary offense is charged and the maximum sentence of total confinement is 90 days or less.
HB 2016 reinstates a long-standing mandatory jail sentence for driving on a suspended license if the license is suspended for DUI reasons. While it’s true that this bill is intended to clarify existing statute, it opts to reinstate a long-standing mandatory jail sentence for driving on a suspended license if the license is suspended for DUI reasons. There are certainly legitimate public safety reasons to keep someone convicted of a DUI from driving, but mandatory jail sentences are not the answer. People drive for all sorts of necessary reasons, like getting to work, taking children and family to doctor’s appointments, buying groceries, or running other critical errands. Automatically throwing every person in jail for more than two months for a first offense of driving on a suspended license is unnecessarily harmful and would trigger an array of collateral consequences. And like all mandatory sentences, it takes away the sentencing discretion that should be vested in the court.
A better approach would instead require alternatives like ignition interlocks or restricted licenses for important purposes like child care and work so that even people who have been convicted of a DUI can maintain the necessities of their lives without endangering public safety.
Check the bill's status here.