General Assembly passes bill to impose harsher DUI penalties

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RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) — A bill that would increase penalties for drivers who cause serious injuries under the influence has passed through the General Assembly.

House Bill 1941 would add a Class 6 felony charge for anyone who drives under the influence and causes serious bodily injuries to other drivers or pedestrians.

It would also increase current charges for drivers who cause permanent and significant damage to a Class 4 felony.

The bill was prompted by a young girl who suffered serious bodily injuries when she was involved in a crash near her neighborhood.

Her parents, John and Amanda Petrylak, testified about her injuries during this year's legislative session.

Delegate Rob Bell introduced the bill to General Assembly.

The bill will be sent to Governor Ralph Northam's desk for consideration.

If he signs it, the new law will take effect on July 1.