Philadelphia Underage DUI Attorney
Singling out underage drivers for harsh treatment
It is illegal to consume alcohol in Philadelphia if you are under 21 years of age. Merely possessing or transporting it can be enough to allow the state to take away driving privileges, even if no motor vehicle was involved. Underage DUI laws single out young drivers with penalties and standards that are much stricter and harsher than those imposed on adults. The team of skilled Philadelphia underage DUI defense attorneys at van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin do not take underage DUI charges lightly.
Mounting an aggressively relentless defense is essential to protect a young person from the punishment associated with an underage DUI charge in Pennsylvania. Drivers at least 18 at the time of the offense could receive mandatory jail sentences if convicted.
Special rules for underage DUI charges
Adult drivers must have a blood alcohol content level of at least .08 percent to be charged with DUI. State law lowers the BAC to a mere .02 percent if a driver is younger than 21 years of age.
Pennsylvania uses a tier system in which DUI offenses are separated into three levels:
- General Impairment Level: BAC levels are within the .08 percent to less than .10 percent range
- High Level: BAC levels range from .10 percent to less than .16 percent
- Highest Level: BAC level is .16 percent or higher
Even though an underage driver might have a BAC of .02 percent, which is substantially lower than the levels required for adult drivers in the second or high level of the grading system. A young driver who might have consumed a beer faces penalties that are more severe than those faced by an adult who probably consumed significantly more alcohol.
Zero tolerance means harsh penalties for young drivers
An underage driver convicted of DUI faces two days to six months in jail, fines ranging from $500 up to as high was $5,000 and a suspension of his or her license to drive for at least 12 months. If the driver has a prior conviction, the penalties are even more severe:
- One prior conviction: Minimum jail sentence of 30 days, $750 up to a maximum of $5,000 in fines and a 12-month license suspension
- Two prior convictions: From 90 days in jail to up to five years in prison, fines ranging from $1,500 to $10,000 and an 18-month license suspension
Higher BAC levels in underage drivers can put them into the highest tier in the state’s three-tier grading system. This significantly increases the penalties and, for those with prior convictions, can result in a criminal record that could affect employment, education and housing opportunities in the future.
Arrested on an underage DUI charge? Call today for a free initial consultation with our relentless Philadelphia underage DUI attorneys
Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Michael T. van der Veen built his reputation on achieving successful outcomes for clients. He has assembled a team of tough-minded, client-focused attorneys at van der Veen, O’Neill, Hartshorn, and Levin to pursue nothing less than the best possible outcome for clients charged with underage DUI in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. You can reach our Philadelphia underage DUI attorneys at any time, 24-hours a day, 365 days of the year, to schedule a free initial consultation by calling (215) 515-6892 or using the online contact form.