As many young people prepare to go off to college within the next month — many to the numerous prestigious colleges and universities here in Pennsylvania — parents worry about their kids being on their own for the first time. One of those worries involves excessive drinking and, worse, drinking and driving.

The legal drinking age in Pennsylvania is 21. However, any parent who has been on a college campus knows that alcohol is readily available at parties and other events both on and off campus.

If a college student is charged with driving under the influence, The Kelly Law Firm knows that parents can be equally angry and frightened. While parents may be tempted to let their children deal with the consequences of their actions in order to learn a lesson, they also don’t want to let a bad decision ruin their future.

A DUI for someone who isn’t old enough to legally drink in Pennsylvania can carry harsher penalties than a DUI for someone 21 or older. Even a first conviction can land a person in jail for as long as three months. The young person’s driver’s license can be suspended, and there is a fine involved. Subsequent convictions carry greater penalties. Beyond the criminal penalties, a student can also be suspended or even expelled from school.

Charges for DUI aren’t limited to alcohol. Drivers under the influence of drugs can also be charged with a DUI. Even a person with authorization to use marijuana for medicinal purposes can face DUI charges.

If your college student is facing DUI charges, the matter needs to be taken seriously. An arrest doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is guilty. We will examine the evidence and the circumstances surrounding the arrest. We will also work to guide your student through the judicial system and to lessen the impact of the arrest on his or her future.