Penalties of Underage Drinking and Driving In Pennsylvania
Like everywhere else in the United States, the legal drinking age in Pennsylvania is 21. For underage drivers who decide to drink and operate on the road, there are much harsher penalties than of-age drivers as Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy for underage DUI. If you are facing underage DUI charges, it’s important to know about the penalties you may face and how it will impact your future.
What is Underage Drinking and Driving?
While the legal drinking limit for those over 21 is a blood alcohol content level (or BAC) of .08%, the percentage is much lower for those who are underage. The BAC limit is .02% for underage drivers. Any higher and you can be cited for driving under the influence.
What Charges Could I Face?
DUI isn’t the only charge you could face if you’re caught. Other charges that could follow include:
- Child endangerment
- Possession of fake identification (if you used a fake ID to purchase the alcohol)
- Solicitation of alcohol to minors
- Minor in possession
What Are the Penalties for Underage DUI?
For underage drivers facing their first DUI offense, the penalties could include jail time, fines, and driver’s license suspensions. If you are found to have a BAC above .10%, you could get upwards of 90 days in jail and fines reaching $300. That’s just for your first offense. Penalties get much harsher as the offenses continue, including longer jail time, higher fines, and even years of license suspensions. You may even be forced to go into alcohol treatment or alcohol highway safety school.
But penalties don’t just stop with the law. Your insurance premiums could skyrocket, and you could face subsequent punishments from your high school or college. If you are applying to college and are convicted of a DUI, that school could deny or revoke your application or any scholarships that may have been awarded to you. However, your federal student aid (FAFSA) legally cannot be affected by any alcohol-related offenses. Finally, the black dot on your record will follow you through employers, landlords, and banks.
How a DUI Attorney Can Help
If you have been convicted of an underage DUI, it’s possible you can get that conviction expunged from your record. There is a provision under Pennsylvania law that allows underage drivers to petition to have the conviction expunged if they meet all the conditions of the sentence. Fortunately for drivers, there is no waiting period or time limit, as long as you meet all the requirements of your punishment. A DUI lawyer will not only be able to help you with that petition but will understand that mistakes are made and will work diligently to get you a lesser sentence, like community service.
Call an Experienced DUI Attorney Today
This just scratches the surface on the fears and questions one may face after an underage DUI charge. Scranton-based Ernest D. Preate, Jr. Esquire understands this charge is an emotional experience and will work tirelessly to make sure you have the best options available. Call the Scranton office at 570-209-9865 or contact the office online to set up a consultation today.