DUI's are one of the most common offense that individuals get arrested for in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Not surprisingly, many individuals who get charged with this crime are under the age of 21. Individual's who are not of the legal drinking age and are caught driving under the influence, can face harsher and stricter penalties as opposed to those who get arrest for a DUI and are 21 years or older. At The Town Law, our DUI attorneys often get calls from minors and/or their parents inquiring about what their child can expect when being faced with such charges.
According to Pennsylvania law, the statute regarding DUI's for underage people states
" A minor may not drive, operate or be in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the alcohol concentration in the minor's blood or breath is 0.02% or higher within two hours after the minor has driven, operated or been in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle."
It is important to note that the legal Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) limit is much lower (.02 BAC) than for people 21 and older (.08 BAC). The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has very strict rules regarding the consumption of alcohol for minors and it is reflected in the DUI statute.
The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, Title 75, states that drivers under the age of 21 face the following if their blood alcohol content is above the legal limit of 0.02 :
$500-$5,000 fine, jail time of 48 hours to six months, a license suspension of 12 months and parental notification for the first offense.
$750-$5,000 fine, jail time of 30 days to six months, a license suspension of 12 months and parental notification for the second offense.
$1,500-$10,000 fine, jail time of 90 days to five years, a license suspension of 18 months and parental notification for the third offense.
As you can see the penalties for a DUI for a minor are severe and having an experienced DUI attorney is essential to getting the best outcome possible.
IF this is an individual's first DUI offense, and the minor does not have a serious and/or lengthy juvenile record, he/she may be eligible for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (read more about ARD in our blog post regarding this program). Having an experienced DUI attorney will greatly increase thee chances of entry into the ARD program. If the minor enters the program and successfully completes it, his/her charges will be dismissed and they will be able to file for an expungement in order to have their record cleared. It is important to note that, despite the BAC in the minor's system, he/she will lose their license for a mandatory period of 90 days if they enter the ARD program.