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Potential penalties for a minor who is charged with a DUI

As young people in Philadelphia grow up, there are many choices they have to make. Many times they make these choices without the benefit of understanding the consequences of those decisions. As people grow older, they have experiences that allow them to make more informed decisions, but when they are young, they lack that experience. One of those choices that young people make without understanding the consequences is underage drinking.

That by itself is a crime, but the minor may be charged with additional crimes depending on what choices they make after consuming alcohol. If they decide to get behind the wheel of a car, they could be charged with a DUI. However, their blood alcohol concentration does not need to be at .08 percent, like someone over 21-years-old. If their BAC is at .02 percent or above they could be charged with DUI.

Also, the penalties are more severe than they are for an adult who has a BAC of .08 percent to .10 percent, including a mandatory 48 hours in jail. The minor would also pay a fine of at least $500, attend a safety class and lose their driver's license for a period of time. However, these penalties will only be imposed if the minor is convicted of the crime. There may be defenses available to the minor, including challenging whether the police officer had a valid reason to stop the minor in the first place.

Many minors in Philadelphia consume alcohol before they are 21-years-old. It may not seem like a big deal to them, but they also may not completely understand the consequences, both short and long-term, of their decisions. Driving after even consuming a small amount of alcohol can result in severe consequences. However, there may also be defenses available to the minor. It may be very beneficial to understand these defenses in order to protect one's future.

Source: Pennsylvania Legislature, "Pennsylvania Statute Title 75 sec. 3802(e)", accessed July 5, 2016

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