Pennsylvania considers anyone with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or greater to be driving under the influence (DUI). If you have a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent or more, you will be subject to criminal penalties that sharply increase after each offense.
But what many people do not realize is that Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy for drivers younger than 21. The legal drinking age in Pennsylvania (and every state in the United States) is 21. If you are younger than 21 and were driving after consuming any quantity of alcohol, even if your blood alcohol level is less than 0.08 percent, Pennsylvania may subject you to criminal penalties. The legal limit for underage drivers is a mere 0.02 percent, which for most people is less than one drink.
If you are underage and are caught driving with a 0.02 percent blood alcohol level, Pennsylvania’s zero tolerance DUI policy will subject you to fines and fees that you must pay if you want to drive again. The mandatory minimum fee is $500, but you will also be required to pay court costs. And if you have damaged any property while driving, you may be required to pay for repairs as well. Fines will often end up ranging from between $500 to $5,000, a hefty price to pay for one night’s entertainment. And to top it off, you can receive jail time ranging from two days to one year for your first offense and increased time for subsequent offenses.
If you are charged with a DUI for driving with a 0.02 percent blood alcohol level while also being younger than 21, your driver’s license will be suspended. Upon the first occurrence, you will face a minimum license suspension of 12 months. Upon the second occurrence, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year to 18 months.
Furthermore, if you had no license at the time of arrest, Pennsylvania law will prohibit you from applying for a license until your suspension ends. Needless to say, this will severely disrupt your life, making it difficult to attend school, hold down a job, or even perform the basic day-to-day activities such as going to the grocery store or visiting friends.
If you are arrested for underage DUI and found guilty, further consequences will have an impact on your future. First, your parents will be notified that you were arrested for a DUI. More problematic is that your arrest record will be public knowledge. It will be found online, possibly with postings of your mugshot. Friends, family, co-workers, and future employers can see this record when they search your name. While it may not seem like a big deal now, the record of this arrest and conviction could derail your future. Obtain an attorney to fight on your behalf so that this incident does not haunt you for the rest of your life.
If you or your child was arrested for an underage DUI in West Chester, Pennsylvania, call an attorney at the Skinner Law Firm today to see how you can put this incident behind you. You can reach us at (610) 436-1410, or contact us online.