More than half of all teenage drivers who die in vehicle crashes have alcohol in their blood. Many of these young driver’s also failed to use their seatbelt. Underage drivers who drink alcoholic beverages are in more crashes than any other group. As a result, Pennsylvania imposes harsh penalties when a person under 21 drinks and drives.
Anyone under the age of 21 who is caught driving with alcohol in their system can be charged with DUI. A minor for DUI purposes is considered anyone under the age of 21 years old. Young people who are under 18 are prosecuted in the juvenile justice system. A young person charged with DUI who is over 18 but under 21 will be prosecuted in adult court.
Pennsylvania is a “Zero Tolerance” state, in which an underage DUI comes with very severe penalties on top of any penalties that may be imposed for underage drinking. If you, your child or loved one has been charged with Underage DUI, it is imperative you hire a qualified criminal defense attorney in Pennsylvania to protect his or her rights and future.
Michael Skinner is the founder of Skinner Law Firm and a skilled DUI defense attorney with experience prosecuting criminal defense cases as an assistant district attorney, including DUI. He will use this experience to pick apart the prosecution’s case against your child and fight for the most favorable outcome available to your case.
If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI in West Chester in Chester County, contact the experienced lawyers at Skinner Law Firm. Your first consultation is free and honest, so call (610) 436-1410 today.
Under Pennsylvania law, it is illegal for any minor to drive with any measure of alcohol in his or her system. However, there is a legal limit defined in Pennsylvania Code Title 75 Section 3802(e). This part of the code states that a minor may not drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle with a blood or breath alcohol (BAC) level of .02%.
A minor can be charged with underage DUI whether or not the legal level is reached. A BAC of .02% or greater qualifies a minor to be punished under a DUI section with more severe penalties. A minor can also be prosecuted under the drugged driving section. An experienced underage DUI defense attorney in Chester County or Delaware County can help fight to prevent the most penalties.
Since the legal drinking age in Pennsylvania is 21, there are two different categories of penalties for underage DUI offenders. One category is for juvenile offenders 17 and under, and the other category is for adult offenders 18-20 years old. The penalties an underage DUI offender faces if convicted include the following:
Juvenile Underage DUI – 17 or younger
Adult Underage DUI: 18 – 20 years old
Second or subsequent offense:
These punishments are in addition to any other offenses involving illegal consumption, purchase or possession of alcohol. In addition, in cases involving BAC levels over .02%, a minor may still be prosecuted under a more severe subsection, which would include more jail and stiffer fines.
If you or your child is over 18, he or she may qualify for the Pennsylvania Accelerated Disposition Program. Find information on the ARD Program in Chester County and the ARD Program in Delaware County. Any defendant who successfully completes ARD is entitled to have his or her record expunged. Your West Chester DUI attorney will be able to help you determine what the best outcome can be.
Where Will the DUI Case Be Prosecuted?
Any minor under the age of 18 years old who is convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) will be supervised in the juvenile justice system after being sentenced by a judge in juvenile court. A law enforcement officer can arrest the child without the consent of the parent.
Any person under the age of 21 years old can be arrested for Driving Under the Influence if there is a blood alcohol level of .02% in their body. The reading is so low that essentially any measurable amount of alcohol can lead to a conviction for DUI. The young person can also be charged with DUI even if he or she refuses to submit to a breath, blood or urine test.
Other crimes involving juveniles and alcohol include attempting to purchase, purchasing, consuming, possessing or knowingly or intentionally transporting any alcoholic beverage.
It is also a crime to lie about your age or carrying a false ID card to obtain alcohol. A conviction for lying about your age or carrying a fake ID case will lead to a driver’s license suspension for 90 days and fines of up to $300 for a first offense. If the minor is under 16, then the 90-day driver’s license suspension begins on their 16th birthday.
An underage DUI conviction could stay on your record permanently. A minor does not need to have over a .02% BAC to be found guilty of DUI. Fight for your driving privileges and your future by calling the experienced defense attorneys at Skinner Law Firm today. Your first consultation is free, so call (610) 436-1410 to schedule a free consultation to discuss the facts of your case.
Michael Skinner represents young people charged with DUI and other serious driving offenses such as hit and run or fleeing to elude throughout West Chester in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Whether the case involves a breath, blood or urine test or a refusal to submit to chemical testing, Michael Skinner can help you fight the case.
This article was last updated on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.