DUI Under 21 in Philadelphia

A DUI acquired by a person under the age of 21, also known as an underage DUI, is strictly enforced in the state of Pennsylvania. It is pinned on individuals under 21 who are arrested for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while in physical control of a vehicle. The state's law enforcement characterizes underage drivers as particularly dangerous, which means that the DUI laws and penalties targeting this demographic of drivers are strict.

Pennsylvania DUI Laws

Pennsylvania law dictates that the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages is 21. Any person under the legal age limit that is caught operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration level over .02% will be arrested and charged with a DUI. It also states that if any traces of drugs are found in a driver under 21, he or she may be charged with a DUI.

Implied Consent Law

The refusal to take and submit a chemical test to determine a person's blood alcohol content level is also a crime. This is called the implied consent law. Therefore, a person who violates this law by refusing to comply to an officer's request to submit a chemical test will likely be subjected to a fine and will automatically get their license suspended.

DUI Penalties for Motorists Under 21

The state of Pennsylvania has a very low tolerance for underage drinking and drugged driving, which means that the penalties are significantly more strict for people under the age of 21 who are caught driving under the influence. With each subsequent DUI offense comes harsher penalties that could jeopardize a person's freedom and finances.

All drivers who acquire an underage DUI will be subjected to an obligatory six-month license suspension. Drivers under 18 who acquire an underage DUI will be punished in accordance with Pennsylvania's Juvenile Act. Typically, punishments under this act consist of fines, a term of probation or confinement in a juvenile delinquency center.

Alleged perpetrators over the age of 18 will be subjected to a different set of repercussions. Here is a list of penalties that a drunken or drugged driver who is over the age of 18 but under the age of 21 could face if convicted of a DUI:

First DUI Offense

  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Alcohol highway safety courses
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Up to 150 hours of community service
  • Imprisonment for a maximum of 48 hours

Second DUI Offense

  • A fine of up to $5,000
  • Alcohol highway safety courses
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Up to 150 hours of community service
  • Imprisonment for a maximum of 30 days

Third DUI Offense

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Up to 150 hours of community service
  • Imprisonment for a maximum of 90 days

Fourth DUI Offense

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Drug and alcohol treatment
  • Up to 150 hours of community service
  • Imprisonment for a maximum of one year

Ignition Interlock Device Requirements

In the event that an individual is arrested and convicted of a subsequent DUI within 10 years of a prior DUI offense, he or she becomes applicable for an ignition interlock device restricted license. They will be required to apply for this license immediately following a license suspension. An ignition interlock device is essentially a breathalyzer that is installed into a person's vehicle. When implemented, this mechanism requires a motorist to blow into the mouthpiece in order to assess his or her blood alcohol content level before starting the vehicle.

If the ignition interlock device detects that a person's blood alcohol content level is higher than the minimal alcohol guidelines imposed by the state, the car will not start. At any point, the mechanism may request that the driver take another breath sample after the engine has been started. Either way, many have found that implementing an ignition interlock device in their vehicle is an inconvenience. With the assistance of an attorney, you may be able to avoid having to go through the hassle of driving with an ignition interlock device within your vehicle.

Long-Term Repercussions of an Underage DUI

In addition to the penalties described above, there are other consequences that aren't necessarily carried about by the criminal justice system that alleged underage drinkers experience in the aftermath of a DUI conviction. These penalties will have a lasting impact on a young person's insurance rates and future opportunities.

Firstly, the insurance rates for drivers under the age of 25 are already relatively high. When a person has acquired an underage DUI conviction on their record, car insurance providers have the option to either terminate a policy or substantially increase premiums. While some insurance companies may drop a motorist altogether, most of them will opt to raise the cost of a monthly premium by hundreds of dollars due to a higher risk policy. And although most insurance companies refer to this increase in rates as a temporary one, the monthly premium usually stays at that rate for at least three to five years.

Another long-term consequence of acquiring an underage DUI conviction is that it may limit an individual's opportunities even after they have paid their fines and did their time. When convicted, a DUI will be on an individual's criminal record until they decide to get it expunged. This means that anyone with access to the public records - family members, employers, banks, government aid agencies, college admission departments - will be able to look up your record and see that you were arrested and convicted of a DUI.

Experienced Philadelphia DUI Attorney

Being charged with a DUI while you are under the age of 21 is terrifying. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI while being underage, it's important to remember that a DUI charge does not guarantee that you will be convicted. Skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento understands young adults are more inclined to make mistakes. Contact him today.

Contact Us Today!

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1500 Walnut St, St 500
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 535-5353
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Mount Laurel, NJ 08054
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