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What are the consequences of teen DUI charges in Pennsylvania?

On Behalf of | Oct 3, 2022 | Criminal Defense

Underage DUI charges refer to anyone caught with a DUI above the legal limit while they are under the age of 21. Some parents may want to shrug an underage DUI charge off as a simple teenage mistake. But underage DUI charges are taken very seriously in the state of Pennsylvania and can have long-lasting repercussions.

Pennsylvania has a zero tolerance policy

For adults who are at least 21 years old, the maximum Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) accepted is .08%. But for anyone under the age of 21, Pennsylvania’s Zero Tolerance Policy kicks in, which charges minors for a DUI with a BAC of .02% or higher. Even adults older than 17 but under the legal age of 21 will face ramifications under the Zero Tolerance Policy.

Underage DUI penalties are severe

All underage DUI violations in Pennsylvania carry a license suspension, jail time, fines and community service.

The penalties for the first underage DUI conviction include:

  • 12-month license suspension
  • Up to six days in jail
  • Up to $5000 in fines
  • Up to 150 hours of community service

The penalties for a second underage DUI conviction include:

  • 12 months license suspension
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to $5,000 in fines
  • Up to 150 hours of community service
  • Installation of an interlock device on the car for one year

The penalties for a third underage DUI conviction include:

  • 18-month license suspension
  • Up to five years in prison
  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • Up to 150 hours of community service
  • Interlock device installed on the car for up to one year

These charges should be taken seriously

A DUI charge can impact a teenager’s life far after the state penalties have been served. Future employers and schools may deny your teenager entry based on their underage DUI. Higher car insurance premiums are also a guarantee for years into the future. If your child has an underage DUI charge, you need to address the situation with them immediately.