In the state of Pennsylvania, there are very strict laws regarding driving under the influence (DUI). In the event that the driver was under the age of 21, they can face serious consequences as a result of their actions. These penalties have the potential to impact a person and their reputation for the rest of their life. It is because of this that those who receive an underage DUI charge should retain the services of an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney for assistance.
Pennsylvania Zero Tolerance Law
In Pennsylvania, there is a Zero Tolerance Law. This law holds drivers under the age of 21 responsible for their actions if they are found driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If the individual was found operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .02% or greater, they can be charged with a DUI. It does not matter if the driver is impaired, they can still be charged as it is illegal for them to drink at all.
Penalties of an Underage DUI
An underage DUI is considered a misdemeanor charge in the state of Pennsylvania. The penalties that come with these charges can vary depending on the number of prior offenses the driver has within the last 10 years. Other factors can influence the degree of the penalty. This can include a high BAC, alcohol test refusal, and drug usage. The penalties of a DUI charge can include the following:
- Jail time: An underage DUI offender must serve at least 48 hours in jail for their first offense, 30 days for a second offense, and 90 days for a third offense.
- Fines: For a first underage DUI offense, the court may require a fine between $500 and $5000. For a second offense, the fine may be between $750 and $5000. A third offense can result in $1500 to $10,000 in fines.
- License suspension: For a first and second offense, the Department of Transportation (DOT) can implement a 12-month driver’s license suspension. A third offense can result in an 18-month suspension. Before reinstatement, the driver is required to have an ignition interlock device for one year.
- Treatment: Before sentencing, the offender can be required to complete a drug and alcohol evaluation to be reviewed by the judge. Once this is done, the judge can order treatment, up to 150 hours of community service, and attendance at a DUI victim impact panel. First and second-time offenders must complete an alcohol highway safety school program.
- Test refusal: All drivers are considered to have given their implied consent for chemical testing. Refusal of a test can result in a license suspension, license reinstatement fees, and increased DUI conviction penalties.
Contact our Firm
Attorney Newman has represented clients in Pennsylvania for over 45 years. If you need an experienced attorney to help guide you through the personal injury claims process or with any criminal defense matters, Attorney Newman is ready to help. Contact The Law Office of Neal E. Newman today to schedule a consultation.