Severe consequences can happen if you get a driving under the influence (DUI) conviction as a minor. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), Pennsylvania takes a “zero tolerance” approach to underage DUIs, and punishments for a conviction can include:
- License suspension of up to 18 months
- Up to 6 months in jail
- A fine of up to $5,000
Those under the age of 21 have a lower threshold for being convicted of driving under the influence. Rather than the standard general blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%, minors can face the above penalties for DUI if they have a BAC of just .02% (or greater).
A DUI Conviction Can Affect Your Future
The penalties for being convicted of DUI as a minor are potentially severe. They should be taken seriously, and the possibility of facing such consequences for a conviction is one reason why you may choose to hire a lawyer.
Beyond those legal penalties, however, being convicted of DUI can have potentially lifelong consequences beyond the legal ones.
A DUI Conviction May Affect Your College Acceptance
If you have yet to begin attending college or are a college student, then a DUI conviction could affect your standing with the school that you attend or are planning to attend.
Though every institution may view a DUI conviction differently, you may:
- Lose scholarships
- Lose funding for your college housing
- Have your acceptance rescinded
- Be expelled
If a DUI conviction affects your standing at a university or other institution of higher learning, then it may create a domino effect of negative consequences in your life.
A DUI Conviction May Affect Your Professional Prospects
Whether or not a DUI conviction affects your standing with an institution of higher learning, being convicted of DUI could harm you professionally. You may have to explain an underage DUI conviction to prospective employers, who may hold your conviction against you.
You could also have your professional future compromised by any DUI-related consequences affecting your standing at a college or university.
A DUI Conviction May Change the Trajectory of Your Life
Your standing at university (if applicable) and your professional life are undoubtedly relevant to how your life unfolds. Your college record and professional life could affect:
- Your lifetime income
- Your personal satisfaction
- Your overall quality of life
In other words, it is in your best interest to avoid a DUI conviction if at all possible.
Teen drivers are at risk of being involved in accidents when they drink alcohol, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains. With that said, you deserve a defense and do not want a potential DUI conviction to follow you for the immediate future and potentially the remainder of your life.
A Lawyer Will Defend You from a Charge of DUI
If possible, you will not have to find out what happens if you get a DUI conviction as a minor. A lawyer will work to achieve a resolution to your case that does not result in you being convicted of driving under the influence.
A lawyer will handle the entirety of your case. They may help you form expectations for the range of outcomes that could occur and explain how they plan to fight for the best possible outcome.
Some of the specific ways that a lawyer will serve you are:
- Advising you on what to do and what not to do with respect to your case
- Gathering evidence related to your case
- Identifying any wrongdoing that may have made your arrest invalid
- Analyzing all available evidence to determine what the target outcome of your defense should be
- Communicating with the prosecutor, judge, and other parties involved in your case as they try to secure a favorable outcome for you
- Negotiating a plea agreement if it is appropriate
There is much on the line if you are facing a charge of driving under the influence as a minor. A lawyer will handle every component of your case and aim to secure an outcome that does not compromise your future.
Being a teen driver means that you may be prone to make certain risky decisions, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains. However, you may not deserve to be convicted of a DUI, and a lawyer will work to help you avoid a conviction.
Call the Team for a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
A lawyer will work with you. They can handle your case from start to finish, aiming to minimize the effects of your DUI charge.
Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today at (610) 991-7219 for a free consultation.