For students at State College, alcohol will undoubtedly be present whether they are of legal age to consume it or not. It is unavoidable in college. Many will violate the law by drinking underage and try to purchase alcohol. While they might not see it as an egregious legal violation, the fact is that they can face charges for alcohol-related offenses. This is especially problematic if the underage person gets behind the wheel and is accused of driving while intoxicated. Not only could they face charges for DWI, but the blood-alcohol content level to warrant DWI charges is lower for a person under 21 than it is for someone of legal drinking age. Understanding Zero Tolerance in Pennsylvania is critical toward a defense.
If a person is arrested and charged with DWI and is under the age of 21, there can be severe penalties. Since they are not legally allowed to drink in the first place, the penalties will be enhanced. If a person has .02 percent BAC, their driver’s license can be suspended for 12 to 18 months. They might face between 48 hours and six months of jail time. And there can be a fine ranging from $500 to $5,000.
It is important to understand that the underage person does not even need to be driving to face penalties that will impact driving privileges. Anyone under 21 who consumes, has it his or her possession, or transports alcohol will face penalties. If the person simply lies about his or her age to get alcohol and has a fake identification card to do so will face penalties. There can be a $500 fine and the person will be required to pay court costs. The driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days if it is a first offense. A second offense will result in a yearlong suspension. Third and subsequent offenses will result in a two-year suspension.
Saying “it is just a college kid” is not a sufficient excuse to avoid these penalties for DWI or for possession of alcohol. A conviction can have cause lasting problems for the person as they are just starting out in their adult life. DWI convictions tend to follow a person around and it gets worse if there are multiple offenses. Having a legal defense is crucial when facing these charges and immediately after an arrest, calling for help from a qualified DUI lawyer is imperative.