West Chester Criminal Defense Blog Posts and Articles | Skinner Law Firm

What Happens to a Teen Charged with DUI?

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In Pennsylvania, juveniles can be charged with many types of crimes, including DUI. Authorities arrest and prosecute minors who operate motor vehicles under the influence, so you should contact a juvenile law attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you act, the better outcome you can obtain for your child.

A Lower BAC for Teens

Pennsylvania casts a wide net when it comes to drivers under the legal drinking age of 21. Specifically, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 or higher is considered intoxicated and can result in a DUI. This is often referred to as the “zero tolerance” law for underage drivers.

Interestingly, most people can comfortably operate a vehicle with a BAC of up to .05, so it is entirely possible your teen’s driving wasn’t impaired when they were pulled over. Nevertheless, they are technically in violation of the law, so you should pursue your possible legal defenses with an experienced juvenile law attorney.

Consequences of a Conviction

Juvenile courts in Pennsylvania are focused on rehabilitating offenders, so there are many benefits if your teen is charged with DUI as a juvenile. Among the most important advantages is that the offense will not show up on your child’s criminal record if they are convicted.

However, an underage DUI – or any underage alcohol offense – can result in fines and the suspension of their driver’s license. Furthermore, the DUI will still appear on your child’s driving record even if it doesn’t appear on their criminal record. Because of this, the DUI could negatively impact their insurance rates and their ability to get a job in the future.

Rehabilitation, Not Punishment

Instead of going to trial, a juvenile charged with DUI has a potential range of programs available, all of which are focused on rehabilitating them. For example, your child might qualify for any of the following:

  • The charges might be dismissed by informal adjudication if your child serves probation for a certain amount of time without any new infractions.
  • Your child might serve formal probation for a set amount of time, such as two years. They will need to comply with all of the conditions of probation.
  • Your child can participate in a Youth Diversion Program. This program requires a fee, community service, and a course on alcohol or drug awareness.

Even if your child goes to trial, a skilled juvenile crime lawyer can build the strongest defense possible by explaining the child’s substance abuse and showing that they are not at risk of reoffending. In some situations, prosecutors can ask the juvenile court to transfer the case to the criminal court, which will allow the state to charge them as an adult. An experienced juvenile crime lawyer will know how to argue against the transfer motion.

Call a West Chester DUI Defense Lawyer Today

When your child is arrested, you need aggressive legal help from someone experienced with juvenile criminal law. The Skinner Law Firm represents clients of all ages who are facing allegations of driving under the influence in Philadelphia. Contact us online or call 610-436-1410. Consultations are free.

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College Students: How Arrests Affect Your Future

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A criminal charge can have many repercussions including jail time, probation conditions and heft fines. Being convicted of a crime can have a significant impact on your future, but for college students, it can be particularly damaging. Unfortunately, certain charges are common against college students, including driving under the influence (DUI), drug possession, sexual assault, and underage drinking.

A criminal conviction can drastically impair a college student’s educational, work and travel opportunities. College students can also face additional penalties from their college or university depending on where the crime took place and whether it involved another university student or faculty or staff. Other times, even if your criminal case had nothing to do with your college or university, you may still be in violation of student codes of conduct and be subjected to student judicial hearings.

Suspension or Expulsion

If a college student is convicted of a crime, colleges and universities can penalize students by academic probation, suspension or expulsion. Colleges and universities are able to mandate drug counseling, anger management counseling, or other conditions such as community service, in addition to the penalties imposed in your criminal case by the court. If a student is suspended or expelled, such penalties will be permanently placed on the student’s academic record, making it much more difficult to be admitted to other schools.

Federal Financial Aid

A federal or state drug conviction can affect your eligibility to apply for federal student aid loans and grants. If the conviction occurs during an academic year, your federal student aid can be suspended. If your financial aid has been suspended due to a drug-related offense, you may be liable for returning any financial aid you received during the loan period in which the offense occurred. You are able to regain eligibility by successfully completing an approved drug rehabilitation program or by passing two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program. Additionally, if you are convicted of certain sexual offenses and you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for that offense, you cannot receive a Federal Pell Grant.

Future Employment

In a poor job market, minor arrests could make the difference between getting a job or not. Most employers conduct background checks as part of their initial hiring process. A criminal record can disqualify you from employment, even with only a misdemeanor.

Prior arrests can indicate an individual has issues with ethics and integrity. Even if you are highly qualified for a position, employers often view a criminal history as a liability.

If You Are Facing Criminal Charges, Contact a DUI and Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are a college student facing criminal charges, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight to protect your rights and future. Contact a skilled DUI and criminal defense lawyer at the Skinner Law Firm who has extensive knowledge of criminal law and experience handling all types of criminal cases. To discuss your case and legal options, call us at 610-436-1410 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

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Michael Skinner
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