New state ID laws in effect for controlled substance

Legislation passed last year that would remove driver’s license suspensions for controlled substance offenses has gone into effect.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced on Tuesday that Act 95 of 2018 is now the law of the Commonwealth.

According to information on the law from the House of Representatives, charges regarding the “possession, sale, delivery, offering for sale, holding or sale or giving away of any controlled substance” will now no longer carry license suspensions.

Additional charges under this law that have had the suspension remove include, in general, underage drinking offenses, the purchase or tobacco by a minor an carrying a false ID when under 21.

“The General Assembly stepped up and enacted this common-sense legislation that promotes smart sentencing reform but there is more work to do,” Wolf said. “We need to break down even more unnecessary and especially difficult roadblocks to success and stability. Having a valid driver’s license often is the key to finding and keeping a job, especially in parts of Pennsylvania where public transportation isn’t readily accessible.”

One charge had a suspension added – anyone under 21 who is convicted of terroristic threats against school property will now be subject to a suspension.

“We must ensure penalties promote rehabilitation, instead of the opposite. We need to make this our goal when it comes to probation and parole, and bail policies,” Wolf said. “If our policies make a second chance harder, especially in a way that is disproportional by economic status, they need to change.”

According to the Governor’s office, the law that Act 95 amended was one of many Congress enacted to punish drug crimes in the early 1990s when the War on Drugs sought to significantly reduce drug crimes. Congress had threatened states with reduced federal highway funding if they didn’t enact the automatic driver’s licenses suspensions for drug crimes.

It is estimated that the state will no longer automatically suspect nearly 20,000 licenses as a result of this change.