How Does an Underage DUI Charge Affect Your Child’s Future?

When your child receives their driver’s license, it can be a very exciting (and very stressful) time for you as a parent. There are all sorts of potential dangers out there on the road, from accidents to infractions. One major pitfall for drivers of any age is a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. This is especially true if your child is underage, as it will have a major impact on their future.

If your child is facing an underage DUI charge, the team of compassionate DUI defense attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. know how to use their wealth of experience and resources to help your child put the incident behind them and move forward.

Pennsylvania’s Underage DUI Law and Penalties

Not surprisingly, the state of Pennsylvania approaches DUI by underage drivers very seriously. Pennsylvania has a “zero tolerance” statute for underage DUIs, meaning that although the legal limit of Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) for an adult is 0.08%, the legal limit for an underage driver is 0.02%.  In other words, if an underage driver is stopped after having consumed any amount of alcohol, they will likely be charged with what is called a “juvenile” DUI.

The penalties for an underage DUI are very similar to those that are assessed to drivers above the age of 21. This is largely due to the seriousness of underage drinking. Like normal DUIs, the penalties become more severe if there is a subsequent offense.

First Underage DUI Offense

A first underage DUI offense carries penalties of a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 48 hours, a $500 fine, one year suspension of driver’s license, and required attendance of alcohol safety classes. In addition, the judge may order your child to attend a treatment program for alcohol or drug addiction.

Second Underage DUI Offense

For a second underage DUI charge, your child can expect a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days, a $750 fine, one year license suspension (to be followed by one year of driving with an interlock device installed in the vehicle), and attendance with a treatment program and alcohol safety classes.

Third Underage DUI Offense

A third underage DUI charge brings penalties of a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 90 days, a $1,500 fine, an 18 month license suspension (to be followed by one year of driving with an interlock device installed in the vehicle), and attendance with a treatment program and alcohol safety classes.

When a minor is charged with multiple DUIs, the third offense is categorized as a second degree misdemeanor.

How Will An Underage DUI Charge Affect My Child’s Future?

Being charged with an underage DUI brings with it several consequences. While most of these are immediate, with jail time and fines being the most impactful in the short term, it is the negative impact on future opportunities that your child could feel the most.

College or Postgraduate Opportunities

When your child has an underage DUI on their record, it can result in them missing out on college or other postgraduate opportunities.  Many schools have codes of conduct that punish criminal activity, not to mention that being charged with a DUI could remove any hope of getting a scholarship or financial aid.

Car Insurance

More than likely, your child is probably on your family’s car insurance program. When there is a DUI charge, the premium cost will skyrocket. Depending on your policy and carrier, fees will increase and can potentially make it difficult for them to get their own insurance. If they already have their own car insurance, they will see a huge increase on their premium. Most importantly, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will show any DUI suspension on a person’s record even if the case is over and expungement is ordered in the criminal system.  So your child’s car insurance will be affected for a decade.

Future Jobs

It is unlikely that an underage DUI conviction will prevent your child from getting a job. However, it is something that will show up on a background check and will have a negative impact on their application, especially if your child is looking to start a career working in certain fields like healthcare, law, or education.

Experienced Pennsylvania Underage DUI Attorneys

For over 65 years, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg and Gifford, P.C. has helped Pennsylvania families navigate the complexities of our state’s DUI laws. If your child is under the age of 21 and has recently been charged with driving under the influence, we can help. Contact our Montgomery or Bucks County office today to schedule a free consultation.  We can be reached 24/7 at (215) 822-7575 or through our contact form.