In Pennsylvania, underage drinking and underage DUI is fairly common. Under Pennsylvania DUI law, someone under 21 found to have a BAC over 0.02 is prosecuted as a High Rate DUI. (Please see our previous post on Pennsylvania DUI penalties for more details.) and a minor with a BAC over 0.00 can be charged with underage drinking. If you have been charged with underage drinking in Pennsylvania or underage DUI in Pennsylvania, you are not alone.
In 2007, approximately 487,000 underage people had alcohol in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2007, underage drinkers consumed 11.1% of all alcohol sold in Pennsylvania, totaling $743 million in sales. These sales provided profits of $364 million to the alcohol industry.
It is probably a confusing time. You may even be scared. Scared to tell your parents. Scared of what is going to happen to you. Scared that you may be kicked out of school.
We understand. We are here to help. At The McShane Firm in Harrisburg, our team of expert DUI lawyers have defended thousands of underage drinking and underage DUI cases in Pennsylvania and have the knowledge to successfully defend and win these types of cases.
There are a couple serious consequences you should keep in mind when talking about underage drinking and underage DUI in PA.
- 1. DUI convictions in Pennsylvania don’t go away after 5 years or 10 years. In fact they never go away. This becomes part of your permanent criminal record and stays with you forever.
- 2. There are long term ramifications on your auto insurance and other costs that people often overlook.
- 3. A DUI charge in certain cases can prevent you from future employment.
- 4. Pennsylvania has a tiered penalty system and minors charged with DUI are automatically pinned at the “High Rate” Tier with fines up to $5,000, prison time up to six months and license suspension for one year.
This is a quite a bit for a young adult just starting out or a college student.
There are many additional factors that can further complicate an underage DUI case in Pennsylvania. For example many people accused of underage DUI are typically college students, many of whom have out of state drivers licenses. Also, many Pennsylvania license holders who are studying at out of state colleges and universities, find themselves accused of underage drinking or DUI. Cases such as these are complex because the accused may face sanctions both in the home state and in the visiting state.
If you or someone you know is facing underage drinking or DUI charges in Pennsylvania, you should call The McShane Firm immediately. We maintain a 24 hour hot-line so you can talk to someone who can answer your questions at any time. The number is 1-866-MCSHANE.
-Justin J. McShane, Esquire, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney
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