Drivers under 21 years old arrested for drinking and driving in Pennsylvania face serious consequences. If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol as a minor, don’t hesitate to contact a Scranton DUI lawyer at Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano. We have successfully handled DUI cases involving Scranton college students charged with DUI and other DUI charges involving underage drinkers.
What are the consequences of an underage DUI conviction?
Under Pennsylvania law, drivers 21 and older are considered legally drunk if they have a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over 0.08 percent. However, if you’re 20 or younger, you can be arrested for DUI or driving while intoxicated (DWI) if your BAC exceeds 0.02 percent. That means you could be arrested for DUI even if you just had one beer 26 minutes ago if you’re a man that weighs 150 pounds, according to an unofficial drink calculator.
The consequences of an underage DUI conviction vary. Factors include how much alcohol you had in your system to whether you have been previously convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania. The penalties for an underage DUI conviction often include:
- Driver’s license suspension for 12 months
- $500 to $5,000 fine
- Possible prison sentence or time in a juvenile detention facility depending on your age and other circumstances
If this is your second underage DUI offense, the penalties will likely be even more severe, including:
- Prison sentence of 30 days to 1 year in jail
- Up to $5,000 fine
- Possible community service hours
The penalties are different for drivers 18 to 21 years. If you are under 18 years old, your case will likely be handled by Pennsylvania’s juvenile court system, unless someone was killed in your drunk driving accident, in which case you will likely be tried as an adult.
Pennsylvania Zero Tolerance Law
Under the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Zero Tolerance Law, in addition to the penalties listed above, a vehicle does not have to be involved for an individual to lose their driving privileges.
Under the law, it is illegal for an individual under age 21 to consume, possess, or transport alcohol or to lie about their age to obtain alcohol such as through a fake ID.
What should I do if I’m charged with underage drunk driving in Pennsylvania?
Contact Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano as soon as possible. We can explain all the legal options available to you after you explain to us exactly what happened. Every DUI arrest is different. That’s why we need to meet with you and hear your story before offering any advice. We won’t shuffle you in and out as quickly as possible. We honestly want to learn as much as we can about the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest. That way, we can offer useful advice that applies to your specific circumstances.
We will strive for an acquittal or dismissal of charges, but also may be able to minimize the impact of the conviction. If this is your first underage DUI conviction, you might be eligible for Pennsylvania’s ARD program, in which you’re enrolled in a probation-like program, after which your criminal record is wiped clean and there’s no record of your arrest.
How can a lawyer help with an underage DUI charge in Pennsylvania?
Just because you were arrested and charged with drunk driving does not mean you will automatically be convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania. An experienced attorney at our law firm can aggressively investigate your case and search for evidence to clear your name. We will scrutinize the evidence police have against you. It’s not unusual for law enforcement to make mistakes in collecting and storing evidence, such as the results of drunk driving tests. In other instances, we might even find evidence indicating that the arresting officer failed to follow the correct arrest procedures and have your charges dismissed altogether. We leave no stone unturned when defending clients facing charges. Let us help you get started on building your case. Call (570) 348-0776 now for a free consultation.