Are DUI Penalties Harsher When a Minor Passenger is Involved in PA?


It’s a Friday night, you’re home from work, and you decide to have a couple of beers to unwind from a stressful day. However, after you’ve had your second drink, you realize you need to pick up your son from football practice in 15 minutes. You feel fine, so you jump in your car and head over to the field. On your way back home with your child in the car, you rolled through a stop sign, a police officer took notice, and you were pulled over. Once pulled over, the officer noticed the smell of alcohol on your breath and decided to breathalyze you or perform a field sobriety test. You failed one or both tests, and now you’re facing DUI charges. Unfortunately, you also technically had a minor in the vehicle. Please continue reading and reach out to our Allegheny County DUI lawyer to learn more about how having a minor passenger in your vehicle can impact the severity of your DUI charges and how our firm can help fight those charges.

What happens if I’m convicted of a DUI with a minor passenger in the vehicle?

In the state of Pennsylvania, when a person is found guilty of either a first or second DUI with a minor under the age of 18 in the vehicle, they will face up to five years of incarceration and a hefty $10,000 fine. Further, because this offense is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree a conviction can affect your right to own firearms under Federal law.

Note, however, that if someone is convicted of a DUI with a minor under the age of 14 in their vehicle, they will likely no longer be eligible for the ARD program, and will face an 18-month suspension of their driver’s license. Further, in many cases, when someone is convicted of driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle, they are also charged with child endangerment, as they are willfully placing their child in danger.

What happens if I’m charged with child endangerment in Pennsylvania?

To start, the consequences you’ll face will be harsher than a standard DUI, as you’ll be facing charges for both driving while under the influence and child endangerment. This can mean higher fines, longer jail time, and more. Additionally, if you are divorced and share custody of your child, it may warrant you losing custody of your child, as the core of any custody agreement is a child’s best interests. Placing your child in danger, rather obviously, is not acting in your child’s best interests.

That said, there is hope. If you’re currently accused of driving while intoxicated with a minor in the vehicle, you can still hire a competent attorney who can combat your charges at every turn and fight for a positive future on your behalf. If you have any additional questions or you need an attorney in your corner, contact the Law Offices of George Heym today.

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