When you think about the consequences of a criminal conviction, you probably think about jail, fines, loss of driving privileges, probation, alcohol or drug programs, community service, and ignition interlock devices. If so, you are correct. These punishments are just a few of the potential consequences of being convicted of a crime in Pennsylvania. However, these are not the only consequences of a criminal conviction.
Many of the consequences of a conviction are not imposed by the court. Some consequences are simply collateral consequences that result from being convicted of a crime. Unfortunately, some of these consequences can impact your life for a long time.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year for parties and get-togethers. However, the number of DUI accidents and DUI charges increase over the holidays. According to Scram Systems, fifty-one (51) percent of drunk drivers admit to drinking more during the holidays. In addition, sixteen (16) percent of adults say they drink too much during the holiday season, and fifty (50) percent admit that alcohol plays a significant role in family holiday gatherings.
If you are hosting a holiday party this year, it is important that you take steps to try to prevent your guests from drinking and driving. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming too much alcohol places everyone in danger and puts your guests at risk for a costly DUI conviction.
Has your child been accused of a crime in Pennsylvania? If so, you must take the matter very seriously, regardless of how ‘minor’ the charge. It is a mistake to consider any criminal charge ‘minor’ because all criminal convictions carry some consequence for your child. It is also a mistake to assume a judge or jury will go lightly on your child because he or she is under 18 years of age. While most courts want to see children rehabilitated rather than imprisoned, your child could still face jail time and other severe penalties depending on the crime.
We urge you to contact our office for a free legal consultation as soon as possible. Our Erie criminal defense attorney wants to hear your child’s side of the story. We care about what happened, and we want to help you and your child achieve the most positive outcome possible given the facts of the case.
With the national news coverage of the tragic death of Timothy Piazza at a Penn State University fraternity party earlier this year, the subject of underage drinking on college campuses in Pennsylvania and throughout the company has been the topic of many discussions. For many college students, parties and drinking are part of college life. However, when the consumption of alcohol is taken to excess, the consequences can be overwhelmingly tragic.
However, even with the increased news coverage of drinking on college campuses, many college students at Pennsylvania colleges do not know three basic facts about underage drinking.
In a tragic story reported by the Associated Press in the New York Post, we learned about the deaths of three young people in a traffic accident in Bethel Park near Pittsburgh this month. According to the story, three young women were in an SUV when it collided with a utility pole on Library Road.
Tragically, the driver, a 21-year old single mother, and two passengers (ages 23 and 17) were killed in the crash. A fourth passenger, a 21-year-old female, was thrown from the SUV and was transported to a Pittsburgh hospital where she remained in critical condition.
“But I was not driving! I was only a passenger in a car when I was drinking, and I was charged with a crime. How can I be charged with a crime if I was not drinking and driving?”
Does this sound familiar? You may assume that charges related to alcohol are only applicable to the driver of the vehicle, but that is an incorrect and potentially harmful assumption.
In the state of Pennsylvania, an individual charged with underage drinking may be frustrated to learn that his or her charge details can be found in government databases that are readily available to the public for free. When an Erie, Pennsylvania student has been charged with underage drinking, the citation is typically filed with the district court and a docket sheet of your case could be found in the database. A lot of the online companies for running background checks use this very database. They provide these details for a fee, or free to their subscribers.
The Internet Makes Background Checks Faster, Easier
In the past, it was more difficult to identify background search information as a perspective employer would need to initiate a search of government records. But many internet background search companies immediately upload databases directly from the administrative office of Pennsylvania courts so that all individuals charged with underage drinking in Pennsylvania are listed.
What If My Charge Was Expunged?
Although these government records may be removed or expunged from government databases in the future, the charges may still be listed in these background search company websites. This might be surprising for someone who has received an expungement. Having to explain this situation to potential employers can be confusing as well, which is why you should know ahead of time how a conviction can impact your record or perceived record.
Talk To An Attorney About Your Legal Rights
An expungement on its own, therefore, may prove problematic if you are hoping that prospective employers would never discover the offense. This means that an underage drinking charge could be viewed and considered by a prospective employer. The best way to avoid the challenges associated with having an underage drinking charge on your record is to hire an experienced Erie, Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney as soon as you have been charged. There are numerous consequences associated with an underage drinking charge and consulting with an experienced attorney as soon as possible is imperative for protecting your rights.
It’s Just School, Right?
You should never make the mistake of assuming that being accused of a crime on campus will lead to less legal ramifications than if you were arrested outside of your school. This is because crimes on campus are taken quite seriously and can lead to administrative as well as criminal consequences. You need a criminal defense attorney to help you in the event that you are facing sudden criminal charges associated with an on-campus incident.
If You Are Accused Or Charged, Talk To A Defense Lawyer
One of the most important things you can do after you have been accused of a crime associated with your university or college campus is to consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Some of the most common reasons for needing an attorney involve possession of a small amount of marijuana, underage drinking, or a DUI.
It should be your first priority to contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can help protect you and minimize the impact to your future prospects and your academic standing. Campus arrests expose you to the risk of fines, a criminal record and incarceration but it can also impact your access to critical components of your college experience like financial aid, eligibility for honors programs, on-campus housing and subsidized student loans. This is why it is imperative to consult with a knowledgeable Erie criminal defense attorney to resolve the criminal charges with a comprehensive approach to protecting you on-campus as well.
If you are facing charges for any of the following crimes, consult with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney as soon as possible:
- Alcohol offenses like DUI and underage DUI
- Disorderly conduct
- Public drunkenness or underage drinking
- Drug charges
- Computer crimes
- Stalking or harassment
- Property crimes
Free Consultation With A Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is imperative to get legal counsel as soon as possible so as to protect your rights and get all of your questions answered after being accused of a crime – even if those accusations are false. Make sure you take your future seriously by a contacting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you have been charged. Your rights and freedom may depend upon it. You can click here to schedule your free, confidential consultation with a Criminal Defense Lawyer at The Travis Law Firm today.
If you have been accused of underage drinking and operating a vehicle while under the influence, the penalties can be severe. That’s why it’s in your best interests to consult with a knowledgeable underage DUI attorney in Pennsylvania as soon as possible after you have been charged or arrested for DUI.
Fatal Car Accidents Feature a Disproportionate Amount of DUI Drivers Under Age
In PA, drivers under 21 only make up 10 percent of the licensed drivers on the road, but they account for 12 percent of the DUI-related deaths. With such a high number of fatalities associated with underage drivers, the standards are tighter and officers have very little tolerance for anyone who appears to be guilty.
Some other charges frequently linked to underage DUI include:
- Minor in possession
- Soliciting alcohol
- Possession of false identification
- Other traffic violations
In addition to other charges that might be coupled with a DUI, an individual who is convicted of underage drinking might be facing penalties like fines, jail time, and license suspension. Any criminal convictions will follow you through life and may make it very difficult to land a job, or get accepted at a university later. Understanding the full range of consequences is necessary, and that’s why a meeting with an experienced defense attorney is recommended immediately.
Other Penalties Associated with Underage DUI
The penalties associated with an underage DUI don’t stop there, though. Some insurance companies might elect to terminate your coverage altogether after an underage DUI. If you’re lucky enough to keep coverage, you might be paying a hefty increase in insurance premiums (to the tune of $100 or more.) To make matters even worse, the insurance increase might stay in place for up to five years.
Charged With DUI? Schedule A Free Consultation With A PA DUI Lawyer
As you can see, there are numerous penalties for an underage DUI that may continue to haunt you for months or years after this unfortunate incident. One of the most important things you can do after you have been accused is to take the matter seriously by retaining a knowledgeble Erie underage DUI attorney. There is simply too much on the line for your future to ignore the potential that a conviction represents. Respond to these charges as quickly as possible by asking for a criminal defense attorney and rely on his or her expertise to guide you through the process. A lawyer who has worked with underage DUIs in Erie before is essential for your success.
The legal penalties are increased, but it can also influence your future employment opportunities and your car insurance rates.
Any driver arrested in Pennsylvania under the age of 21 for a DUI is charged under what is known as the state’s high BAC rate. This means that even if the charges you are facing are your first offense or the amount of alcohol in your system as indicated by the test is minimal, your punishment could potentially be severe, regardless.
The minimum penalties for this high-level impairment charge in Pennsylvania are two days in prison and as long as six months behind bars if you are ultimately convicted. Your license could also be suspended for 12 months so that you cannot drive for a whole year.
Long-term Underage DUI Consequences
Aside from the short-term issues you might face after being charged and convicted of an underage DUI in Erie, there are long-term consequences associated with underage DUI as well. First of all, your auto insurance will go up since drivers under 25 pay higher rates of auto insurance anyways.
With a DUI conviction on your permanent Pennsylvania record, your rates will rise instantly and you will be put in the high risk pool. If you have a bad driving history you may not be eligible to get competitive auto insurance at all. The DUI conviction will also become a portion of your permanent criminal record so that banks, colleges, employers and universities could see your DUI if they conduct a routine background check on you.
What to Do After Being Charged With DUI?
If you have been arrested or charged with a DUI in Erie, whether or not your charges include underage drinking, you need an experienced defense attorney who is committed to fighting for the best possible outcome for you. Contact an Erie DUI defense attorney sooner rather than later to protect your legal rights, your freedom may depend on it. The no obligation consultation is free, and confidential, so that you can make an informed decision about your situation.