One of the most exciting things about being young is that you feel your life has unlimited possibilities. However, an arrest and conviction for underage driving under the influence (DUI) can dramatically limit your career, educational, and personal options. The potential punishment includes jail time, fines, and a lengthy driver’s license suspension. Law enforcement takes underage DUIs very seriously, and this crime is prosecuted aggressively.
A Doylestown under 21 DUI lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can fight for your rights and freedom. Your arrest does not have to lead to a conviction, and having legal representation could pave the way to an acquittal, case dismissal, or other positive result. Before you plead guilty because you think your situation is hopeless, consider how you may benefit from having a Doylestown DUI lawyer fight your case.
How Do You Get Arrested for Under 21 DUI in Doylestown?
Doylestown police actively patrol the community, looking for people who may be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While the normal threshold for a DUI arrest is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08%, 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3718 applies a much stricter standard if you’re under 21. You are not allowed to have any measurable levels of alcohol in your system while driving in Pennsylvania.
If police believe they’ve caught you driving under the influence, you can be arrested for under 21 DUI. This is a criminal offense. Per the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the potential punishments for drivers under 21 with a BAC of .02% or more include:
- A term of 48 hours to six months in jail
- Driver’s license suspension for 12 to 18 months
- A fine between $500 and $5,000
The Aftermath of an Under 21 DUI Conviction May Last for Many Years
Starting your adult life with an under 21 DUI conviction has many potential negative consequences beyond driver’s license suspension, a jail sentence, and hefty fines. First, the conviction will go on your criminal record, which means you won’t have the benefit of the doubt that you may get as a “first-time offender” if you are arrested for a subsequent offense.
Secondly, you will probably have to report the conviction on any job or professional license applications. Some occupations, such as those requiring a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or driving for a rideshare service, could be unavailable to you.
An under 21 DUI conviction will almost certainly result in a dramatic increase in your auto insurance rates. Your Doylestown under 21 DUI attorney will fight to help you avoid these harsh penalties and start your life as an adult with a clean slate.
How Can a Doylestown Under 21 DUI Lawyer Help You?
Your attorney can assist you in several important ways if you face an under 21 DUI charge. First, we’ll aim to prove your innocence or build reasonable doubt in your case. We will look at your situation through the eyes of a team with experience as defense attorneys and prosecutors in DUI cases.
Our firm’s founder, Attorney David C. McKenzie, is a former Dauphin County Prosecutor. He understands the legal burden prosecutors must meet in criminal cases and knows how to defend his clients.
Mr. McKenzie may use numerous potential defenses in under 21 DUI cases, such as:
- Challenging the traffic stop’s validity: If police didn’t have probable cause to stop you, the evidence they collected after the traffic stop may be inadmissible. We will look at traffic cameras and police dash cams or try to find other witnesses who can testify that police had no reasonable cause to pull you over.
- Challenging probable cause to arrest: Police usually base under 21 DUI arrests on evidence gained through field sobriety or breathalyzer tests. However, if we can successfully prove there was no probable cause to assume you were under the influence, it could lead to a case dismissal.
- Challenging sobriety test results: Field sobriety and breathalyzer tests must be conducted according to stringent rules, and police do not always follow them to the letter. An improperly conducted test or using an improperly maintained breathalyzer machine could lead to the results being thrown out.
Your Doylestown underage DUI attorney will examine every potential avenue of defense in your case. Then, they will plan a defense that’s tailored to challenge the specific evidence in your case. Our goal is to maximize your chances of a positive result.
Your Doylestown DUI Attorney Will Be Responsive to Your Concerns
We understand that when you hire a DUI lawyer from our law firm, you are trusting us to fight for your life. We’re here to help you maintain your good name, but we also want you to know we care about you as a person, not just your case. Throughout our time together, we will be responsive and proactive about answering your questions.
Once you hire our criminal defense team, we’ll be there for you when you need us. Whether you prefer to use email, text messages, phone calls, or even social media to contact us, you’ll be able to get through to your lawyer, and they’ll respond to you as promptly as possible. Client service is as much a priority for us as winning your case.
We Will Explore Options to Avoid an Under 21 DUI Conviction
DUI is a serious offense for anyone in Pennsylvania, especially someone who hasn’t reached the legal drinking age. With that said, destroying the lives of young people who have made a mistake does not necessarily serve the public interest. That’s why Pennsylvania offers a program for first-time offenders called Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)
Per 75 Pa. C.S.A. § 3807, you may be eligible for ARD if you don’t have any prior offenses in the last ten years. If you are accepted and adhere to the program’s conditions, you can have the charges against you dismissed and the case expunged from your criminal record. However, the prosecutor in your case must approve your application, and your Doylestown criminal defense lawyer must help you apply for the program.
This is another area where Attorney McKenzie’s professional experience could prove valuable in your case. As a former prosecutor, he knows what prosecutors want to hear before approving ARD applications. If you’re eligible for ARD and we believe it is a good option for you, we will make a strong case for why the prosecutor should admit you into the program.
Get Help From a Doylestown Under 21 DUI Attorney Today
One mistake doesn’t have to ruin the rest of your life. If you’ve been arrested for underage DUI in Doylestown, you have options. You can fight your case, and you have the right to have a criminal defense attorney represent you in that fight.
If you’re unsure about your legal representation, please reach out to us at McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. We offer free case consultations to all prospective clients because we believe we will earn your trust and your business when you meet with us. We are here to help you win one of the most important fights of your life.