What Happens if Police Arrest Me for a DUI and I Am Under 21?
While teenage and college years are frequently a time of social and recreational exploration, sometimes involving drugs, alcohol, and motor vehicles, these years can lead to devastating consequences when underage drinking and driving occur together.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s 2014 statistics on Pennsylvania crashes, drinking drivers under the age of 21 accounted for more than 650 crashes in 2014 alone. As the state recognizes that reducing incidents of drinking and driving is an essential step toward reducing overall fatalities, special attention is made to identify drinking drivers who might be underage—and to prevent them from endangering their own lives and the lives of others.
Pennsylvania DUI Laws
In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for a person under the age of 21 to consume alcohol—without exception. Pennsylvania’s underage drinking laws carry through to all sorts of activities, including driving under the influence, an offense involving minors who have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 or greater while operating a motor vehicle. If you’ve been pulled over for a DUI and are under the age of 21, you could be charged with an underage DUI.
What Are the Consequences of an Underage DUI in Pennsylvania?
Penalties for underage DUIs are severe and can result in incarceration time, hundreds of dollars in fines, and license suspension. If you’ve pulled over and arrested for an underage DUI, you could face:
- Jail time — for a first underage DUI, incarceration can be up to 90 days; for a second underage DUI, incarceration can be between 5 days and 6 months
- Hefty fines — fines start at $300 for a first underage DUI and can rise to as much as $2,500 for a second offense
- License suspension — if your BAC is above .10 on a first offense, you could face 12 months license suspension; if charged with a second underage DUI, you could face 1-year suspension
- A criminal record — if you’re charged with an underage DUI and convicted, you’ll have a record of criminal conduct which could affect future job prospects, employment opportunities, and rental applications
- Academic consequences — many schools have internal regulations focused on students’ underage drinking; an underage DUI conviction could land you in academic or institutional trouble
How Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC Can Help You
If you’ve been stopped and arrested for a DUI and were underage at the time of your arrest, you may be feeling scared, angry, or confused. To help you understand the charges being brought against you and to take the first steps toward defending your case, contact an experienced Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer today.
At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we have helped numerous individuals under the age of 21 to fight their underage drinking case. We are familiar with Pennsylvania underage drinking laws and can build you a strategic defense that’s based on proving that you weren’t drinking, that you weren’t driving, or that a police officer didn’t have probable cause to stop you. To speak with one of our skilled Pittsburgh DUI attorneys today, call us at (412) 281-2146.