May 26, 2020
Start of Summer Months Reminds Drivers: DUI May Be On The Rise
As schools let out for the summer and college students have more time on their hands, we can expect to see an increase in drunk driving events on the road. Though COVID-19 mandates have made social gatherings smaller, this does not mean that drivers can get away with driving under the influence. If you are a young driver and charged with an underage DUI, know that you have legal options. Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano are here to fiercely defend you.
The Summer Months Can Be Deadly for Young Drivers
In a May 2018 article by Sobering Up, the summer months can be particularly dangerous for young drivers. It is estimated that July is the most popular month for teens to try alcohol for the first time. In addition, June, July, and August are the deadliest months for teen drivers.
It comes as no surprise that the 4th of July holiday is the most popular summer celebration for drinking, with 50% more drunk driving deaths among teens than at any other time of the year.
Pennsylvania Zero Tolerance Law – Convicted of a DUI
For drivers under 21 who are convicted of a DUI, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has information about the state’s Zero Tolerance Law.
Under the law, a driver can be convicted with any amount of alcohol in their system if they are under 21 years old. This means if you are 19 and convicted of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .02 or greater, you may face penalties including a 12 to 18-month license suspension, 48 hours to six months in jail, and fines ranging from $500 to $5,000.
It is important to remember that a vehicle need not be involved for those under 21 to lose driving privileges. It is against the law for anyone under age 21 to consume, possess or transport alcohol, or lie about their age to obtain alcohol and carry a fake identification card. If found guilty, the penalties range from:
- Fine of up to $500, plus court costs
- 90-day license suspension for the first offense
- One-year suspension for the second offense
- Two-year suspension for the third and subsequent offenses
Potential Defenses to an Underage DUI
Obviously the best defense to an underage DUI is not to drink illegally and operate a vehicle. But if it happens, you need a strong legal defense to support you.
Potential defenses to an underage DUI include:
- You were not driving
- The officer did not follow protocol
- The evidence is not credible
The best-case scenario is that all charges are dropped and the case is dismissed. However, if that is not possible, we will work to give you the most beneficial penalty possible, such as shorter sentencing and minimum fines.
You may also qualify for the Pennsylvania ARD program if this is your first offense.
There are many options available, but you need an attorney who can guide you through the process.
Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano Will Fight For You
Just because you were arrested and charged with drunk driving does not mean you will automatically be convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania. Don’t tackle this alone and don’t feel intimidated. Our team will work diligently to ensure that no stone is unturned when we review the case. Let Mazzoni Karam Petorak & Valvano help you get started today. Call (570) 348-0776 now for a free consultation.