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Parents: Beware of Junior License Violations this New Year's Eve

DECEMBER 31, 2014

Around the holidays, there are a barrage of blogs detailing driver-safety tips. As a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer who focuses on serving clients in Pennsylvania and West Virginia who have been charged with DUI, I, too, wrote about some of those subjects. There was a blog about how New Year’s Eve party hosts can help prevent their guests from drinking to excess and then driving home, and there was another about BAC charts and resources to get you home safely (i.e. Uber, Lyft, and Yellow Cab).

Absent from all those blogs, though, was any sort of word to the wise to parents of teen drivers.

In Pennsylvania, for instance, underage motorists have what is commonly referred to as Princess Licenses. Not familiar with the concept? Young drivers have driving restrictions in the evening.

In the Keystone State, young drivers are not permitted to drive from 11 p.m. through 5 a.m. unless it is for employment or a volunteer or charitable service project (and even then, they need appropriate documentation). Nor are they allowed to carry more than one passenger unless they’ve gone six months with no violations. Even then, they’re limited to three passengers.

Enter free advice from your friendly neighborhood Pittsburgh criminal lawyer: If you are the parent of a young driver, you need to discuss where they will spending their New Year’s Eve. Even the most innocent of teenage New Year’s Eve parties could end in a citation if your child is pulled over when and if they drive home from a party.

The consequences for teen driver violations are harsh. For example, if your junior license holder causes an accident, he or she will lose their license for 90 days or until they turn 18. That means, it’s back to hauling them around for you, which could potentially punish you both. Getting six points on their licenses also results in 90-day suspensions for underage drivers, the first time. If it happens again, the suspension is extended to 120 days.

Don’t forget Pennsylvania’s zero tolerance for teenage drinking. The legal limit for teens is only 0.02 percent. It could take less than a single beer for your kiddo to be over the limit and charged with a DUI.

And believe me: If there is a chance for any of this to happen, it would be during the New Year’s holiday.

There will be police out in force tonight, tomorrow and all this weekend – and every traffic violation will be considered a possible clue to a driver who is under the influence.

If your teen forgets to use a turn signal, or blows a stop sign, they will get more than a citation for a moving violation – they could possibly have their license privileges suspended.

Being convicted of any crime at a young age, especially a DUI can be seriously detrimental to your future. This DUI record will have to be disclosed at all college applications which can jeopardize your chances of getting an admission into your dream college. And if you are already in college, there are high chances of you getting expelled. Even when you apply for a job, an underage DUI conviction will reflect on your chances of getting the job.

So, you must at all costs, fight your DUI charges to avoid these harsh consequences on your future. So, quickly call a Pittsburgh criminal lawyer like me and get rid of the ill-effects of an underage DUI conviction. Do not plead guilty before consulting a lawyer because a skilled and experienced lawyer like me can come up with various defense strategies which will help you get a favorable outcome.

While I’m happy to represent clients who have been cited for various traffic violations – including young people and students – I would hate you to have to go through the process when some simple oversight and planning can prevent that legal trouble.

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