In 1995, the federal government passed legislation that required all states to at least consider placing the blood alcohol limit (BAC) for minors at 0.02%. As a result, most states today have a 0.02% limit for minors. This strict standard is connected to the dangerous and possibly life-threatening consequences of drunk driving even for adults, which become only more intense in the context of a child or young adult. If you or an underage driver in your life is struggling with a DUI, it would be very helpful for you to get in touch with a York County DUI attorney. We’ve handled many cases like this and will do everything we can for you.
Criminal Consequences for an Underage DUI
As in a majority of states, Pennsylvania has a BAC limit of 0.08% for adults and 0.02% for those under 21. In fact, Pennsylvania is one of several states with a Zero Tolerance Policy for minors charged with drunk driving.
Minors may receive up to 150 hours of community service for first or multiple offenses. For a first offense, minors also face a possible 12-month license suspension, 2-6 days in jail, and a fine between $500 to $5,000.
Second offenses carry the possibility of a 12-month license suspension, 30 days to 6 months in jail, fines between $750 and $5,000, and are required to buy and set up an ignition interlocking device for one year.
If a minor is convicted a third time of drunk driving, they now may encounter an 18-month license suspension, 90 days to 5 years in jail, and fines between $1,500 and $10,000.
Keep in mind that a minor canbe also be charged simply for possessing alcohol, without ever having consumed it. In that case, the minor faces up to $500 in fines. Nor is the minor the only one punished, as any adult who knowingly lets a child drink may be fined $1,000 for the first time and $2,500 for any subsequent times.
It is highly inadvisable to refuse a blood or breath test when pulled over and told to take one. For one, you can still face legal consequences even without the results of this test, if the officer can prove your driving capacity was impaired. By refusing the test, what you instead open the door to is a year-long license suspension, which if you are found guilty, is added onto the suspension you receive for the DUI.
Non-criminal Life Consequences for Drunk Driving
Beyond criminal consequences, minors found guilty of a drunk driving charge face a plethora of difficulties in other areas of life. Schools now have the right to expel or refuse to accept you, particularly colleges. Employers always have the right to request your criminal record and now they may refuse you a position because of the DUI charge. You’ll have to contend with much higher car insurance premiums as well.
All this is to say nothing of the potential, incredibly severe charges and punishments if while drunk driving you hurt or worse yet kill someone. By so doing, you put not just your health and entire life at risk, but the health and lives of anyone else driving near you.