West Chester Underage DUI Attorney
Pennsylvania Underage DUI Lawyers
One of a parents’ worst nightmares is getting the call their child is in legal trouble. Such trouble can lead to feelings of anxiety and helplessness and can leave the parent unsure of how to handle the situation. When the legal trouble involves underage DUI charges in the state of Pennsylvania, there are immediate actions a parent can take in order to lessen the long-term effects of the charges.
Pennsylvania has a Zero Tolerance law for motorists who are younger than 21 years of age, meaning any amount of alcohol in an underage driver’s system constitutes a criminal offense. Furthermore, a minor may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if he or she has a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.02 percent or more.
If a person under the age of 21 is convicted of DUI, it can have a profound impact on his or her life. In addition to possible imprisonment, fines, and insurance ramifications, this charge will also lead to a criminal record that can dramatically alter a minor’s future employment and education.
West Chester Underage DUI Lawyer
Were you or your child recently charged with DUI in Pennsylvania? Prosecutors and judges will look to send messages to alleged offenders who are under the age of 21.
The Chester County underage DUI attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices fight to achieve the most favorable outcomes for minors facing these charges in West Chester and such surrounding areas as West Caln, Easttown, Coatesville, Phoenixville, and West Goshen. We will provide a free, no obligation consultation to review your case and discuss your legal options as soon as you call (610) 692-8700 today.
Underage DUI Laws in Pennsylvania
Alcohol cannot be legally purchased or consumed in the state of Pennsylvania for those under the age of 21. If convicted of underage drinking, the fine could be as much as $300, there could be jail time up to 90 days, and the convicted person could lose their license for 90 days. If convicted of underage intoxication with a BAC between 0.02 and 0.159 percent while driving, a first offense can result in a jail sentence of two days to six months, a 12-month license suspension and a fine from $500-$5,000. A second offense has similar penalties, however a third offense can bring a prison sentence as long as five years, an 18-month license suspension and up to a $10,000 fine.
If the person’s BAC is more than 0.16 percent, a first offense could result in jail time from three days to six months, a fine as large as $5,000 and a 12-month license suspension. The second offense could bring an 18-month license suspension and a fine as high as $10,000, and a third offense could result in a prison sentence from 1-5 years, an 18-month license suspension and a fine as high as $10,000. Pennsylvania has a Zero Tolerance Law which allows those under the age of 21 to be charged with a DUI, if there is any measurable amount of alcohol in their system.
Additional Consequences of an Underage DUI Conviction
In addition to the legal penalties an underage DUI conviction will bring, there are additional consequences. Auto insurance may be denied to the underage driver who receives a DUI, and a license suspension can make it very difficult to get to and from school, college and/or work. A college student who is convicted of underage DUI could lose college scholarships and could face university disciplinary actions. A DUI conviction stays on a criminal record forever—every potential employer will be able to see that record and may refuse to hire because of it. A student who is planning to go to college will have to disclose the DUI on their college application. A DUI conviction could potentially jeopardize eligibility for federal grants or student loans.
Chester County Underage DUI Information Center
- How does a minor’s BAC affect criminal charges in these cases?
- What are the possible punishments alleged offenders face if convicted?
- Are there other crimes minors are charged with in these cases?
Underage DUI Charges in Pennsylvania
There are multiple laws under Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes that deal with minors operating motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. The criminal charges an underage driver would face depend entirely on his or her BAC.
The Commonwealth’s Zero Tolerance law is enforced under 75 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3718, which states that a minor who drives, operates, or us in physical control of a motor vehicle while having any alcohol in his or her system commits summary offense. However, 75 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3802(e) makes it such that any motorist under 21 who has a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher is charged with DUI.
Ordinarily, DUI crimes are classified under one of three tiers, depending on the BAC. Whereas motorists who are of legal age need to have a BAC of at least 0.10 percent to be classified as having a high rate of alcohol, however, a minor is subject to this classification if he or she has a BAC of 0.02 percent.
Underage DUI Penalties in Chester County
If a minor had a BAC higher than 0.00 percent but less than 0.02 percent, then he or she will be charged with a summary offense punishable by a fine of $100.If the BAC was 0.02 percent or higher, then the criminal charge of underage DUI can be much more serious.
Alleged offenders who are under the age of 18 will be punished under Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Act, often resulting in being ordered to pay a fine and serving a term of probation. However, those who are at least 18 but less than 21 years of age can face the following punishments:
- First Offense — Punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 48 hours and not more than six months, fine of not less than $500 and not more than $5,000, driver’s license suspended for 12 months, up to 150 hours of community service, mandatory alcohol safety school attendance, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements imposed under 75 Penn. Cons. Stat. §§ 3814 and 3815
- Second Offense — Punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 30 days and not more than six months, fine of not less than $750 and not more than $5,000, driver’s license suspended for 12 months, up to 150 hours of community service, mandatory alcohol safety school attendance, ignition interlock device for one year, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements imposed under 75 Penn. Cons. Stat. §§ 3814 and 3815
- Third Offense — Punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days and not more than five years, fine of not less than $1,500 and not more than $10,000, driver’s license suspended for 18 months, up to 150 hours of community service, mandatory alcohol safety school attendance, ignition interlock device for one year, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements imposed under 75 Penn. Cons. Stat. §§ 3814 and 3815
- Fourth or Subsequent Offense — Punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than one year and not more than five years, fine of not less than $2,500 and not more than $10,000, driver’s license suspended for 18 months, up to 150 hours of community service, mandatory alcohol safety school attendance, ignition interlock device for one year, and compliance with all drug and alcohol treatment requirements imposed under 75 Penn. Cons. Stat. §§ 3814 and 3815
It is important to keep in mind that if an underage driver’s BAC exceeds 0.08 percent, he or she can be subject to the same penalties as adult drivers charged with DUI.
Additional Pennsylvania Crimes Associated with Underage DUI
When a minor has been charged with a drunk driving crime in Pennsylvania, there is a good chance that he or she will face additional charges for other offenses. These other crimes may be used for leverage by prosecutors in plea bargaining negotiations, but they can also lead to additional fines or other consequences.
Some of the other crimes that alleged underage DUI offenders may be charged with can include:
- Purchase, Consumption, Possession or Transportation of Liquor or Malt or Brewed Beverages, 18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 6308 — This is a summary offense for which a first violation is punishable by a fine of up to $500, up to 90 days in jail, and a 90-day suspension of driving privileges. A second offense can result in a maximum fine of $1,000 and a possible one-year suspension of driving privileges, while third or subsequent offenses will lead to driver’s licenses being suspended for two years.
- Carrying a False Identification Card, 18 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 6310.3 — This is a summary offense for which a first violation is punishable by a fine of up to $300, up to 90 days in jail, and a 90-day suspension of driving privileges. Any subsequent offense is classified as a third-degree misdemeanor. A second offense can result in a maximum fine of $500 and a possible one-year suspension of driving privileges, while third or subsequent offenses will lead to driver’s licenses being suspended for two years.
- Restriction on Alcoholic Beverages, 75 Penn. Cons. Stat. § 3809 — Any operator or an occupant in a motor vehicle who is in possession of an open alcoholic beverage container or consumes a controlled substance or alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle on a Pennsylvania highway can be charged with this summary offense punishable by a fine of $25.
Find an Underage DUI Lawyer in West Chester
If you or your child has been charged with being a minor who was operating while under the influence in Pennsylvania, you will want to be sure to have proficient legal representation for help in obtaining the best possible outcome to your criminal case. Ciccarelli Law Offices has offices in Radnor, Plymouth Meeting, Kennett Square, West Chester, Lancaster, Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Malvern.
We fight to defend clients in Chester County, Philadelphia County, Delaware County, Lancaster County, and Montgomery County. Call (610) 692-8700 to have our Chester County underage DUI attorneys review your own case during a free, confidential consultation.
Obtaining Experienced Legal Representation
Finding the best solution to a young person’s Pennsylvania underage DUI charges can be very frustrating, particularly because young people are rarely able to fully realize the impact a conviction could have on their future. The sooner a parent speaks to an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney, the greater likelihood of a positive outcome. An attorney who recognizes that one moment of poor judgment or one bad decision should not be allowed to alter the entire course of a young person’s life is the best advocate that young person can have during this difficult time.
Contact Our Experienced West Chester DUI Defense Lawyers
At Ciccarelli Law Offices, our Underage DUI lawyers are experienced and ready to assist you or your child after they have been arrest for dui before they turn 21, and contest their dui stop, dui arrest and the enhanced dui penalties for an underage drinker.
Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380. Our attorneys serve clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and Paoli.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced Underage DUI Attorney at Ciccarelli Law Offices, by contacting us at (610) 692-8700 or toll free at (877) 529-2422.