Understanding Underage DUI in Pennsylvania

Many teens and young adults look forward to turning 21 so that they can start drinking alcohol. Some teens and adults who are under the age of 21 simply don’t wait and begin drinking while they are still too young. If you drink alcohol and then get behind the wheel of your car, you may be charged with a DUI even if you are not impaired and even if your BAC is below the state’s legal limit for adults of 0.08%.
The DUI laws are harsher for minors in Pennsylvania because they are likelier to be involved in crashes than more experienced drivers. To prevent people who are younger than 21 from drunk driving in the state, the laws are stricter for this age group. DiCindio Law is experienced in handling underage DUI cases and can help you to understand what to expect. Here is an overview of how underage DUI cases are handled in Pennsylvania.

Lower BAC limit for younger drivers

For adults in the state of Pennsylvania, the legal blood alcohol concentration limit is 0.08%. If you are younger than age 21, however, the legal limit is much lower. If you are younger than age 21, the legal limit at which you can be charged with a DUI is 0.02%. People who are younger than age 21 may be convicted of DUIs if they have any traceable amount of alcohol in their systems. This means that you could be convicted of a DUI even if you only had one drink if you are under age 21.

What are the penalties for an underage DUI?

The penalties for underage drinking and driving are harsher than they are for adults. Three main types of penalties exist for people who are convicted of underage DUIs, including time in jail, fines, and a suspension of driving privileges. If your BAC was 0.10% or higher, you could see substantial jail time depending on what number offense this is. If you are a repeat offender, you may spend time in jail while also losing your license for a long time.

Pennsylvania has a three-tier penalty system for DUI offenses that depends on the BAC levels of the people who are convicted. However, if you are underage, you will automatically face the penalties for a high BAC DUI even if you only had trace amounts of alcohol in your bloodstream. For a first offense, this means that you could have to pay a fine of $500 to $5,000 and could have your license suspended for a year.

If you are younger than age 18 when you are convicted of a DUI offense, your case will fall under the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act. You may be institutionalized, be forced to pay a fine, and be placed on probation. If you are 18 but younger than age 21, you may face the following penalties for a first-offense underage DUI:

  • Mandatory minimum jail time of 48 hours
  • Fine ranging from $500 to $5,000
  • Alcohol safety school
  • Other penalties such as treatment or community service

An underage DUI conviction also carries some collateral consequences beyond the legal penalties. If you have a criminal record, it could prevent you from obtaining some types of public and private scholarships. If you are already enrolled in and are attending college, your university may have its own disciplinary system for you, including a potential suspension from the college, being placed on probation at the college, or potentially being expelled.

Expungement of an underage DUI

For most people, a DUI cannot be expunged until they reach age 70 or have died. If you are granted entry into a diversionary court program for first offenders, you will be permitted to have your record expunged upon successful completion of the program. Expunging your underage DUI removes it from your criminal record. As soon as you have satisfied the conditions of the program, you are able to immediately petition the court for an expungement. This is important for you if you want to go to college and are getting ready to apply. Some colleges require that their students have clean criminal records before they are admitted and then to maintain clean records while they are attending. Expunging your DUI conviction can help you to gain admission into the college or university that you want to attend and to be eligible for more public and private scholarships.

Can an underage DUI case be won?

It is possible for you to win your underage DUI case at a trial, but it will depend on the facts of your case. An attorney may review what occurred and advise you on whether it makes sense to take it to trial.
A criminal defense lawyer at DiCindio Law may also be able to negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce your charges through a favorable plea agreement. If you are facing an underage DUI charge, it is important for you to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before you just plead guilty. An attorney may be able to identify potential defenses that you could raise and help you to build a strong defense case. An attorney may also be able to secure a better plea bargain on your behalf by negotiating with the prosecuting attorney who is assigned to your case.

Getting an underage DUI charge can have long-lasting consequences. It is important for you to talk to an attorney at DiCindio Law if you are facing this charge or have already completed your sentence and want to get an expungement. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your case.


DISCLAIMER
The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office

DiCindio Law, LLC opens newly renovated West Chester Office building.

Located in downtown West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania and built in 1900 – the firm’s building has undergone a top to bottom renovation/restoration with the idea of preserving and repairing the building to the beauty it once was and providing Mike’s client’s with a comfortable and accessible office location and atmosphere.

Mike DiCindio looks forward to continuing to serve his current and future client’s for years to come at this new location.

West Chester Criminal Lawyer and West Chester Personal Injury Lawyer

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What do I do when I am charged with a DUI

One of the first things that people call and ask is, “What do I do when I am charged  with a DUI”

The crime of Driving Under the Influence or “DUI” is likely the most commonly charged crime in Pennsylvania. With law enforcement targeting DUI offenders – people from all walks of life are being arrested and prosecuted.

Anyone who is arrested and charged with a DUI is going to have concerns about what they will be facing moving forward. Will I go to jail? How much is this going to cost? Will my employer find out? How long will I lose my license for? All of these are normal concerns of a first offender or of someone who has prior driving under the influence convictions or arrest. Further, not only are these normal . . . they are questions that are important for you to have answers to. Some things you can do.

1. Write down as much as you can about what you remember from the evening of the arrest. When determining what the best course of action or litigation strategy is for your case every detail may matter and may impact your case or the way in which your criminal defense lawyer proceeds. Nothing is insignificant.

2. Contact and hire an attorney. DUI cases may be common but they still impact your livelihood, reputation, finances and liberty. Now is the time to find an attorney who you trust to protect your interests and defend you in your case. There are no guarantees in criminal law.  Now is the time that you need to have your questions answered and understand what the different potential outcomes may be. While a strategy should be put in place quickly it is important to still understand that we as criminal defense lawyers do not always have all the information needed immeidately in order to properly decide how is best to proceed this early on.

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West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

3. Ask questions. There is no question that you have that shouldn’t be asked. This is a significant event for you and the outcome very well may impact you in some manner for the remainder of your life. You do not want to look back in a few years and question what you did and/or why you didn’t do something with your case. No attorney worth hiring will make you uncomfortable or be bothered by your questions. Some things to think about:

a. Cost
b. Punishment
c. Trial issues
d. Time Frames/Length of the case
e. Pre-Trial Motions
f. Diversionary Courts/First Offender Programs and options
g. Things you can begin to do to help your case

These are just a few of the many things that you should be thinking about and doing when you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DUI. If you have any questions or are facing DUI charges call Mike DiCindio directly today.

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The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester

Teachers charged with DUI / driving under the influence offenses

Driving Under the Influence charges ( DUI ) are one of the most common criminal charges that people face in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. With law enforcement cracking down on DUIs and the prosecutions of these cases becoming more aggressive – it is all the more likely that someone may be unfortunate enough to face DUI charges once in their lifetime.

For some, a DUI conviction leads to only a criminal conviction and driver’s license penalties. For others, it may create professional licensing matters that have the potential to harm their ability to earn a living and continue to work in their field.

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense - Conspiracy Cases

West Chester Pennsylvania Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Attorney

Teachers are a group who are potentially susceptible to professional discipline for driving under the influence / DUI offenses. If you are a teacher and are charged with DUI it is important to have a criminal defense lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to handle your criminal case in a proper and aggressive manner while also being well versed in the procedures and policies in your case as they relate to your professional license.

Teachers charged with DUI / driving under the influence offenses may have a duty to report their charges, and/or the dispositions of the charges, to their employers. Each case and school district may be different. Further, there are often services and tools that teachers may have at their disposal (and often times they are unaware of) that may further aid them through this process.

Teachers charged with DUI /driving under the influence offenses are often worried and rightfully concerned about their ability to teach being impacted. If you are a teacher who has been charged with a DUI / driving under the influence offense contact Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. at DiCindio Law, LLC today.

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The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes to the law that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments or the most complete legal issues for all cases These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer and personal injury attorney who represents individuals accused of crimes or injured by the negligence of others throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale

I finished the ARD program, is my expungement finished too?

Many people who are charged with first offense DUI cases are accepted into the ARD program in the county in which they were arrested. While they may be aware of it, often times upon completion of the program, these individuals do not proceed to have the records expunged. In turn, they are left with records of their DUI arrest and entry into the ARD program on their criminal record. A successful expungement would erase that, leaving only limited agencies who are permitted to retain them.

Common occurrences – individuals either believe that the records of their ARD participation and completion were automatically expunged, or they believe their previous attorney expunged it for them. When often times neither is the case.

When Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney

An expungement should be filed on DUI / ARD cases that are successfully completed.

The expungement procedure/process involves filing required documents, a petition and a proposed order with the Court. As a part of the proposed order, a list of agencies and departments is included. Usually including all of the Courts involved in the case, the central repository, the police departments involved and any other agencies that may have access to the records or case information. If the expungement is granted by the Court, the agencies will be sent the certified order and will be directed to expunge the records. (In some counties the clerk of courts sends the orders, in others the individual or his/her attorney does).   Depending on the Court dockets, the number of petitions submitted, and the procedure of the county in which the petition is filed, expungement orders may take many months to be presented to the Court and signed.  Making it crucial to prepare and file the expungement quickly after successful completion of the ARD program.

Expungement of an DUI ARD is something that should be taken seriously and followed through on. Any chance someone has to clear their criminal history of arrests or prosecutions will be beneficial to them in their future searches for employment, housing and many other vital portions of their life.

If you have an outstanding DUI ARD case that has yet to be expunged. Contact West Chester criminal lawyer Michael DiCindio to discuss your options today.


 

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael DiCindio is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.