The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has been promoting its “zero tolerance” campaign recently that seeks to heighten awareness regarding underage DUI. It refers to the state's zero tolerance for drivers under the age of 21 who are found to be operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Underage motorists may be deemed as “over the legal limit” when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measures .02%. These offenders may face jail time, a loss of driving privileges, fines, and more.
Many younger people are unaware that they may place their driving privileges at risk by committing alcohol-related offenses that do not involve driving a vehicle. This may apply to those who possess or consume alcohol or used fake identification in order to obtain alcohol. These underage offenders may have a 90-day driver's license suspension imposed for the first offense, which is extended to one-year for second- time offenders. The state now will also impose a $1,000 fine on adults who willingly supply alcohol for underage individuals.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Controlled Substances (§ 3802)
It is against the law to operate or control a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol to a level that impedes the ability to safely operate a vehicle. Motorists are also prohibited from operating or controlling a motor vehicle when they have controlled substance in their blood. This includes prescription medications that are not prescribed by a physician that are Schedule I, II, or III drugs or their metabolites. In addition, any substances that are “solvent or noxious” are prohibited.
Members of law enforcement may detect the presence or alcohol and the BAC level of the driver by using a breath test. Pennsylvania employs several categories associated with the driver's BAC level that determines the potential severity of penalties.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Levels
- For Minors .02%
- General Impairment: .08% - .099%
- High Level: .10% - .159% *This is the level used for penalties in all underage DUI cases
- Highest Level: Greater than .16%
*High Rate BAC .10 to .159%
Two Days to Six Months
$500 - $5,000
30 Days to Six Months
$750 - $5,000
90 Days to Five Years
$1,500 - $10,000
Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program
The Delaware County District Attorney's Office oversees their ARD Unit. This is a program that requires offenders to complete process that may ultimately allow them to have their offense expunged. Some of the penalties imposed include the following:
- A 90-day driver's license suspension
- Remain under court-supervised probation for a six month period
- Fines ranging from $300 and $5,000 in addition to court-related fees and costs.
- Submit to an alcohol and drug assessment
- Complete alcohol and/or drug rehabilitation treatment if ordered
- Completion of a 121/2 hour Alcohol Highway Safety School.
Do I Need an Attorney if Facing DUI Charges?
Lawmakers at all levels have responded to the many alcohol-related vehicle accidents that cause injuries, fatalities, and property losses in recent years. Younger drivers can ill afford to have a DUI conviction. These offenses can create problems if your background is investigated for educational, occupational, and other purposes.
Delaware County Underage DUI Defense
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has been tirelessly advocating for clients in the greater Delaware County region for years. He strives to create a comprehensive defense strategy and make sure that your rights are protected along the way. Contact the office today to speak with an attorney that has your best interests in mind.