Understanding zero tolerance for underage DUI

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Colleges and universities recognize that students who are 18 or older are adults. However, although your child may be a legal adult, drinking under the age of 21 is still illegal.

Almost 30% of all traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania are alcohol-related, and statistics such as this have prompted legislators to set up a zero-tolerance law for underage DUI. The law comes down especially hard on any infraction.

One drink may be too much

For drivers over 21, a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or more is illegal. That level drops to 0.02% for underage drivers. Any measurable amount of alcohol in the blood may lead to an underage DUI conviction. Having one drink, only enough to loosen up or relax, may seem harmless, but not for an underage driver.

A 5-ounce glass of wine may be too much. A single 12-ounce beer or 1.5-ounce shot may also raise the blood alcohol level enough for an underage DUI arrest.

One arrest may have tough consequences

Strict penalties for underage DUI could include a driver’s license suspension that may last up to 18 months. Your student may also pay $500 to $5,000 in fines. One drink before getting behind the wheel may mean jail time from 48 hours up to six months.

Although it has zero tolerance for underage DUI, the law does make a way for a student to clear a conviction record. After an adult turns 21, he or she can petition the court to expunge an underage DUI conviction.