It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You receive a call that your teenager has received a DUI. While you’re relieved that there were no injuries, you are worried and upset.
What impact will an underage DUI have on your child and their future?
Pennsylvania’s underage drinking laws
Pennsylvania has a stringent zero tolerance law when it comes to underage drinking. While individuals 21 and over are considered legally impaired at .08% blood alcohol content (BAC), the law states that any measurable amount of alcohol in anyone under 21 is grounds for a DUI.
If convicted, your child could face the following consequences, depending on whether or not it is the first offense:
- 12-18 month suspension of their driver’s license
- 48 hours to six months in jail
- Fines ranging from $500 to $5,000
- Some type of alcohol or drug treatment
Furthermore, an underage DUI can have an impact far into the future, such as:
- Getting into college
- The ability to secure a loan
- Difficulties obtaining a job
- Increased car insurance premiums
- An inability to obtain clearance to travel to a foreign country
Finally, an underage DUI can have lasting consequences for the driver’s family and friends. The driver may alienate their loved ones and damage their relationships.
This is a time to be supportive and understanding. Your child will likely be feeling a range of emotions, from shame and embarrassment to anxiety and fear. Reassure them that you love them and will work together to get through this.
You also need to sit down with them and honestly discuss the dangers of drunk driving. It is vital that they understand the gravity of their actions and the potential consequences. Finally, consider seeking professional help to explain the legal process and help you navigate the next steps.