A DUI charge can be devastating and have a lasting impact on your future. If you are under 21 when you are convicted, your future could be at stake. Getting a job, gaining acceptance to academic programs, and finding housing could all be difficult when you have a criminal charge on your record.
A King of Prussia under 21 DUI lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can create a defense strategy against your charges and work to mitigate the potential damage to your future.
Our Under 21 DUI Lawyer Can Defend You in King of Prussia
If you face criminal charges, you may want to retain a criminal defense attorney serving King of Prussia. Your case will be taken seriously, and without legal representation, you’re left to navigate the legal system on your own.
When you hire our DUI lawyer, we will:
- Explain the laws that apply to your case
- Represent you in court proceedings
- Determine your legal options
- Negotiate a plea deal
- Remain in contact with you through email, text, phone calls, and social media
Defenses We Can Use Against Your DUI Charges
The prosecution will present evidence at a preliminary hearing to justify taking your case to trial. You don’t have to stand alone against the charges. A lawyer from our firm will stand with you and can build a robust defense to challenge the prosecution. We could argue that:
- The police did not follow proper procedures during the stop. Failure to follow procedure can result in a dismissal of the charges against you. Furthermore, if the police did not have probable cause or if there was any misconduct, the charges against you could be thrown out.
- The results of the breathalyzer device were unreliable and faulty. We also might be able to present alternative explanations for your behavior that could result in dismissal or lesser charges and penalties.
If necessary, we will also negotiate a plea deal with the prosecution that can result in lesser charges or entrance into a program such as the consent decree program.
Penalties for Under 21 DUI in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has a zero-tolerance policy for DUI if you are under 21 but at least 18 years of age. The penalty for DUI increases in severity depending on whether it’s your first offense or you already have multiple offenses on your record.
For instance, a first offense is punishable by:
- At least 48 hours in jail
- A fine of no less than $500 up to $5,000
- Potential 12 to18-month suspension of your driver’s license
You could also be required to complete community service or participate in alcohol highway safety school.
Penalties for Drivers Under the Age of 18
For drivers under the age of 18, the focus is on rehabilitation. One program a lawyer from our firm can recommend is the consent decree program. This is a program lasting six months, during which time you must complete certain requirements.
In addition to the legal consequences of a DUI offense, you may also have to deal with societal consequences such as damage to your reputation, difficulty getting a job, difficulty gaining acceptance into college, and difficulty applying for a loan. A DUI can follow you around for many years and complicate your life. Luckily, you have legal options.
What Is a DUI Under Pennsylvania Law?
A DUI is a legal charge for driving under the influence of alcohol, an offense that Pennsylvania takes seriously. According to the Pennsylvania DUI Association, the number of car accidents involving drunk drivers rose from 7,700 in 2020 to 9,220 in 2021. The number of fatalities also rose during the same period.
Drunk driving often results in devastating accidents that rip families apart. That’s why the law takes DUI offenses so seriously. It’s about maintaining safety on the roads and making sure drivers make it back to their loved ones.
For those under 21, you’re not only breaking the law by drinking and driving, but you’re also breaking it by drinking while underage. Underage drinking and driving is a concern in Pennsylvania, with drunk drivers in the 16-20 age group making up 18 percent of the fatalities.
When law enforcement observes signs of driving under the influence, such as swerving and speeding, officers are likely to pull you over and perform chemical testing and request the completion of a field sobriety test. These tests are used to determine if your blood alcohol level exceeds the legal limit.
What Is the Legal Limit in Pennsylvania?
The legal blood alcohol level for drivers 21 and older is 0.8 percent, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), but the limit for drivers under 21 is even stricter at 0.2 percent. That means even one drink can result in a DUI charge.
Law enforcement will measure your blood alcohol content level by using a breathalyzer test in which you blow into a device for several seconds. While you can refuse to take a field sobriety test, you can’t refuse to take a breath test, or you will face an automatic 12 to18-month suspension of your driver’s license.
Consult With Our Under 21 DUI Team in King of Prussia Today
A DUI charge doesn’t have to ruin your life. A DUI lawyer from McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. can build a solid defense against the charges and vigorously present that defense in court on your behalf. We will protect your rights every step of the way and explain how the legal process works.
If you or someone you love is under 21 and faces DUI charges, a lawyer from our firm is ready to talk to you about your case. Reach out to us today to get started on your case with a confidential consultation.