DUI/Underage Drinking

Close-up of a police officer holding a Breathalyzer

Experienced Lawyers for DUI and Underage Drinking Defense in Pennsylvania

Being charged with a DUI in Pennsylvania can turn your life upside down. If you’re facing DUI or underage drinking charges, you may be worried about what comes next, but having an experienced criminal defense Lawyer by your side can help take some of the weight off your shoulders. Our DUI lawyers at Gross McGinley, LLP, can advise you on the best course of action to protect your rights and provide a vigorous defense.

Here’s what you need to know about DUI defense:

How do Pennsylvania DUI laws work?

Which types of penalties could I face if convicted of a DUI?

What happens if I’m arrested for underage drinking?

Am I eligible for an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program?

What are possible defenses in a DUI case?

Why choose the defense Lawyers at Gross McGinley for my DUI case? 



Pennsylvania DUI Laws

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance in Pennsylvania comes with strict penalties. In Pennsylvania, DUI penalties are categorized according to blood alcohol content (BAC) and the number of DUIs the driver has had. For adult motorists with a standard Pennsylvania driver’s license, the legal limit is 0.08% BAC. For commercial truck drivers, the legal limit is just 0.02%. A high BAC (0.10% – 0.159%) or one at 0.16% or above can result in stiffer penalties, even for first-time DUI offenders.

It’s important to keep in mind that you still may be charged with a DUI even if your BAC was below 0.08% if a law enforcement officer had reason to believe that you were impaired. It is also illegal to drive with drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or some prescription medications in your system.



Penalties for DUI in PA

DUI offenses can come with severe penalties, including driver’s license suspension, jail time, costly fines, ignition interlock, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation. There are three tiers of DUI charges in Pennsylvania:

General Impairment Penalties (BAC of 0.08% to 0.099%)

A first offense is an ungraded misdemeanor that can carry up to six months probation, a $300 fine, alcohol highway safety classes, and alcohol/drug treatment if ordered. Our DUI lawyers may recommend that you consider doing an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program, which can result in dismissal and expungement of a DUI conviction once all program requirements are completed.

A second DUI conviction can have added penalties of a one-year license suspension, five days to six months of jail time, a fine between $300 and $2,500, and a one-year ignition interlock.

Subsequent DUI convictions are charged as second-degree misdemeanors and come with penalties such as a 12-month license suspension, 10 days to two years in prison, a fine between $500 and $2,500, and a one-year ignition interlock.

High (BAC of 0.10% to 0.15%) and Highest BAC (0.16% and up) and Controlled Substance DUI

High or highest BAC DUIs may be charged as first-degree misdemeanors and come with penalties that can include an 18-month license suspension, one to five years in prison, a $1,500 to $10,000 fine, and a one-year ignition interlock. These penalties may also apply if you are convicted of a drug DUI.

Although a driver who refuses to take a chemical test is typically charged with a general impairment DUI, they may receive the highest rate DUI penalties. Criminal law in Pennsylvania is complex, so it’s vital to seek the counsel of an experienced DUI lawyer who can help you navigate the court system.



Underage Drinking And DUI

Pennsylvania law considers underage drivers with a BAC of 0.02% legally drunk. For most people, that’s the equivalent of one beer. Those younger than 21 convicted of DUI face strict penalties as well. Those consequences include mandatory license suspension for up to 18 months, 48 hours to six months in jail, and fines that range between $500 and $5,000.

Underage drinking in Pennsylvania is considered a summary offense. A person under the age of 21 may be convicted for purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing, consuming, or transporting alcoholic drinks. Drivers under age 18 receive punishment under Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Act.

Adults who furnish underage persons with alcohol or drugs also face harsh penalties. Our criminal defense Lawyers are well-versed in Pennsylvania DUI and marijuana laws. Regardless of the type of charge you may be facing, we work to provide the most effective defense possible.



What Is Pennsylvania’s Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program?

This program is for first-time DUI offenders and is intended to encourage offenders to make a fresh start after participation in a rehabilitative program. If you are eligible for the ARD Program in Pennsylvania, you likely will be evaluated for substance abuse treatment. You also likely will have to complete the following:

  • Alcohol Highway Safety School
  • Six to twelve months of probation
  • Mandatory license suspension
  • Restitution if applicable
  • Fees and costs associated with evaluations, treatment, and Alcohol Highway Safety School, evaluations, and treatment
  • Community service
  • Any other conditions established by the court

After you complete all requirements of the ARD program, your record can be expunged. It’s always a good idea to have an experienced DUI lawyer assist you to ensure you understand the benefits and drawbacks of the ARD program in Pennsylvania.



Potential Defenses in DUI Cases

A DUI conviction can have far-reaching effects on all aspects of your life. It can impact your personal relationships, reputation, educational or employment opportunities, and lead to paying higher insurance rates for years to come.

Our DUI Lawyers have a balanced, in-depth knowledge of criminal law in Pennsylvania. With decades of experience working with local police departments, prosecutors, and judges, our criminal defense lawyers have a deep understanding of how to approach each case. We know that each case is unique, and our team collects and thoroughly analyzes information and evidence to build custom defense strategies. Some possible defenses for DUI include:

  • You weren’t actually driving under the influence
  • You weren’t in “actual physical control” of your vehicle
  • Breathalyzer or field sobriety results were unreliable
  • You were stopped by police without reasonable suspicion
  • You were arrested without probable cause
  • You were questioned without the police reading you your Miranda rights
  • The prosecution’s evidence is insufficient



Our DUI Lawyers Provide the Compassionate Legal Support You Need

We also recognize that being charged with a crime causes significant emotional and financial stress. We’re dedicated to providing the compassionate, competent legal support you deserve. Our team’s collaborative approach and clients-first philosophy help put your mind at ease throughout the process, as we work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact Our DUI Lawyers in Pennsylvania

Gross McGinley, LLP, has provided forward-thinking legal representation to clients in Pennsylvania for more than 40 years. If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI or underage drinking, we can help. To schedule a consultation with a criminal defense Lawyer, contact us online or call us at 610-820-5450.

DUI/Underage Drinking Team

View Profile Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Attorney Michael J. Blum

Michael J. Blum

Senior Counsel
View Profile Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Attorney Robert M. Campbell

Robert M. Campbell

Senior Counsel
View Profile Gross McGinley Allentown Law Firm Sara Hart Charette

Sarah Hart Charette

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Julianne Danchak

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Andrea Figueroa

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Eric A. Harakal

View Profile Lehigh Valley criminal defense lawyer Philip Lauer

Philip D. Lauer

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Alexander O. Ward


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