A DUI charge is consequential enough if you’re already 21 or older, but a DUI charge, if you are under 21, can follow you for the rest of your life. Representation from a Bristol criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI cases may help you avoid harsh consequences.
If you find yourself facing legal trouble after drinking and driving, our under 21 DUI lawyer in Bristol can take your case. McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is ready to talk to you. We can develop a defense strategy to use in court on your behalf and protect your rights every step of the way.
What Is an Under 21 DUI in Bristol?
DUI stands for “driving under the influence” of drugs and/or alcohol. The legal drinking age in Pennsylvania is 21 years old, so if you are under this age, you may face even stricter penalties. Pennsylvania follows a zero-tolerance policy for underage DUI.
If the police stop you on suspicion of drunk driving, you may be subject to a breathalyzer test in which you blow into a device for a few seconds to measure your blood alcohol content (BAC). The legal limit for drivers 21 and older is .08 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). But the limit is even stricter at 0.2 percent for those under 21.
Our Under 21 DUI Lawyer Can Help You Understand the Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Bristol
Facing a DUI criminal charge means you’ll undergo certain penalties if you’re convicted. Penalties for a DUI charge may vary, but generally, if you’re under 21, you could:
- Have your driver’s license suspended for 12-18 months, making it difficult to go to school, work, and maintain your social life
- Spend 48 hours to six months in jail, which may result in the loss of your job, friends, and good standing with your college or university
- Face fines between $500 to $5,000, impacting your financial security
The judge in your case will decide your sentence. Repeat offenders typically face increasingly more severe penalties. For example, you may spend more time in jail or be subject to even higher fines. Underage drivers may also have the option to join a rehabilitation program, depending on the circumstances of your case and the nature of your crime. Our criminal defense lawyers in Bristol can defend your rights and fight for a fair case outcome.
You Could Qualify for the Consent Decree Program If You Are Charged With Under 18 DUI
Your attorney can explain your options for joining a rehabilitation program instead of spending time in jail. One such rehabilitation program that you can consider is the consent decree program. If you face a DUI charge and you are under 18 years of age, your DUI lawyer can work to get you into this program.
The consent decree program lasts six months and requires enrollees to complete community service, drug and alcohol assessment and treatment, and install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle that will prevent them from starting their vehicle if it detects alcohol in their system.
In addition, you will be on six months of probation, during which time you will have restrictions on where you can drive if the judge chooses not to order the suspension of your license. You may only be able to drive to work, school, your residence, and your health care provider.
We strongly recommend complying with the terms of the program and avoiding alcoholic beverages until you are 21. Even then, we urge you to rely on a designated driver or a form of public transportation if you decide to drink.
Our Under 21 DUI Lawyer in Bristol Can Defend You
Hiring legal representation when facing a DUI charge may be beneficial. Our DUI lawyer can defend your rights and advocate for your best interests. We can also walk you through the legal system as your case progresses, offer advice, and build a robust defense.
We will begin by investigating the circumstances of the charges against you. Did the police officers follow proper procedure? Did the police respect your rights? Did the police have probable cause or commit any kind of misconduct? It’s entirely possible to secure a dismissal of the charges against you if the police did not do their job the right way.
Even the results of the breathalyzer test are not above scrutiny as it can be faulty. It is vital that you comply with taking the breathalyzer because refusal to do so will result in the automatic suspension of your license. However, you can refuse to comply with a field sobriety test.
Your lawyer will also work to collect evidence that supports you, including traffic camera footage, police camera footage, and witness statements. We have experience negotiating plea deals with the prosecution that can reduce the charges against you and result in less severe penalties. You may choose to reject or accept a plea deal, but we encourage you to consider the advice of your attorney when making your decision.
Consult With Our Under 21 DUI Lawyer in Bristol Today
A DUI charge has the potential to follow you around for a long time, significantly impacting the way you live your life. You may face license suspension, jail time, issues getting a job, and trouble being accepted into college.
Don’t let the prosecution or the court make an example out of you. An under 21 DUI lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. understands how the prosecution thinks and works. We can build a defense to challenge the prosecution and work to mitigate any damage a DUI charge causes.
You do not have to face your drunk driving charges alone. You have the right to legal counsel, and you are innocent until proven guilty. An experienced attorney from our firm is ready to talk to you about your case today. To begin your case with a confidential consultation, please contact us now.