Underage DUI is a serious issue in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas including West Chester, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Square, and Malvern.
According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, there were 11,041 alcohol related crashes in 2013. Of the fatal alcohol related crashes, 19% involved underage drinking drivers between the ages of 16-20.
Underage DUI remains a serious problem, because many teenagers and young adults do not understand the serious consequences that result following a DUI arrest.
Underage DUI Penalties
Under Pa. C.S.A. 3802(e) a person at least 18 but not yet 21 may not drive, operate, or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after consuming a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.02% or higher within two hours after the minor has driven.
A BAC of 0.02% to 0.159% is considered “high impairment”, which results in a minimum of 48 hours in jail and 1 year loss of driver’s license. A BAC of 0.16 or higher is the highest tier of impairment, which results in a minimum 72 hour in jail and 1 year loss of license.
Generally, the court will require the individual to complete alcohol highway safety school, drug or alcohol treatment, community service. Also, the court has the discretion to impose fines ranging from $500-$5,000. Depending on the facts of the case, the charge can be upgraded and be punishable up to 6 months in jail.
Pennsylvania Legislature Responds to Underage DUI Problem
Due to the large number of high schools and colleges in Chester County and the surrounding areas, underage DUI has been a huge problem. Over twenty high schools and colleges are in the area, including Conestoga High School, West Chester Henderson High School, Unionville High School, Great Valley High School, West Chester University, Neumann University, Penn State, Temple University, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, and Lincoln University.
To offset the costs incurred by cities with a large number of high schools and colleges, the Pennsylvania legislature raised the fines that could be imposed following an underage DUI conviction. The legislature raised the minimum fine for a first offense from $300 to $500 and raised the minimum fine for subsequent offenses to $1,000.
Effect of Underage DUI on Parents and Guardians
Depending on the circumstances of an underage DUI, prosecutors may choose to charge parents of the minor as well.
In October of 2015, prosecutors in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania were investigating the mother of a twenty-year old male who drove under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The minor’s actions resulted in a fatal car accident, killing a six-year old girl.
Prosecutors investigated the twenty-year old’s mother, because the prosecutors had reason to believe the male was drinking at his mother’s home and she knew that he was intoxicated when he left her home in a vehicle. The mother could face charges of furnishing alcohol to a minor, which is a third degree misdemeanor. If convicted, she could face up to one year in prison and a fine up to $1,000.
If you or your loved one is facing criminal charges resulting from underage DUI or any related offense, contact the experienced attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices.
The team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices use a comprehensive approach to prepare the best defense possible on your behalf. Contact them today at [[$phone]] to schedule a confidential consultation.
The Ciccarelli Law Offices proudly represents clients throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding areas including West Chester, King of Prussia, Lancaster, Kennett Square, Radnor, Plymouth Square, and Malvern.
The Ciccarelli Law Offices represents clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area including students at local high schools such as Henderson, Conestoga, Bishop Shananan, Unionville and Rustin; and local college students at such schools as Penn State, Temple, Villanova University, Cheney University and Lincoln University.