The charge of underage drinking in PA is often treated lightly by minors and parents alike, as it may seem “common” to engage in such behavior during teenage and college years. However, any criminal charge in Pennsylvania is serious and should be treated as such. An underage drinking charge carries significant penalties, can result in license suspension, and can show up on public record searches, which can affect a person’s ability to get a job or obtain higher education.
PA Underage Drinking Attorneys
The PA underage drinking attorneys at The Martin Law Firm understand the potential consequences of underage drinking charges and always focus on protecting the future of our clients. Our attorneys have been providing quality legal defense to individuals charged with underage drinking in Montgomery County and throughout Southeastern PA for over 10 years.
Pennsylvania Underage Drinking Law
Defined in 18 Pa. C.S.A. §6308, the PA underage drinking law describes a number of behaviors which are prohibited by those individuals under 21 years old regarding alcoholic beverages. If under 21, an individual may be arrested or cited for underage drinking not only for simply consuming alcohol, but for possessing it, intentionally transporting it, buying or even attempting to buy it. Even if legally drinking in another state, when crossing into PA, it is still possible for a person to be arrested or cited for underage drinking.
What are the Penalties for Underage Drinking in PA?
If arrested or cited for underage drinking in Pennsylvania, there are long-lasting consequences that may be avoidable with the help of an experienced PA underage drinking attorney. Underage drinking is graded as a summary offense in PA and, if convicted, an individual may be subject to a $500 fine for the first offense and $1,000 for every offense after that. In addition, there are other serious consequences including:
1. Driver’s License Suspension
- First Offense – 90 day suspension
- Second Offense – 1 year suspension
- Any Additional Offenses – 2 year suspension
2. Summary Offenses Available on Public Records
Whether for a citation or arrest, it is important to understand that any finding of guilt for an underage drinking charge is available through public records on the Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System. This may affect future job opportunities, internships, or admissions to schools.
3. Parents are Notified
Under the PA underage drinking law, not only will an individual face fines and license suspensions, the law mandates that a minor’s parents or guardian be immediately notified of the underage drinking violation.
4. May Cause Problems/Separate Penalties through School or College
Many universities in PA have established standards of student conduct related to alcohol consumption on and off of campus. For example, Temple University’s Student Drug and Alcohol Policy states certain violations of their alcohol policies can subject a student to a range of university sanctions, including, but not limited to, expulsion.
Why Hire a PA Underage Drinking Attorney?
Experienced PA underage drinking attorneys are familiar with the challenges and risks that young people face when arrested or cited for underage drinking in PA. At The Martin Law Firm, our attorneys are not only familiar with the charges for underage drinking and the legal process, but our lawyers are skilled in providing a defense to the charges or seeking a pre-adjudication disposition.
Pre-adjudication disposition allows for an individual to be admitted to an “alternative program” as a disposition of the charges, rather than suffering the extensive fines and penalties. While there are a wide variety of programs available under a pre-adjudication disposition (various programs can also be proposed to the deciding Judge), appropriate programs typically include a public service position, working at a charitable agency or organization, or at a political subdivision.
Many programs will be considered, so long as they agree to assume supervisory responsibility over the individual, and with the help of an experienced attorney, the deciding Judge may accept a more favorable program suggestion or may lessen the time of the program.
*Even if a pre-adjudication disposition is received, an individual may still be subject to the required license suspension periods.
Underage DUI Expungement in PA
As previously mentioned, summary offenses, such as an underage drinking charge, remain on public records unless they are properly and timely expunged. Expungement simply means that certain criminal records may be erased if specific requirements and procedures are met.
A PA underage drinking conviction is eligible to be expunged from a criminal record after 5 years, so long as there are no arrests during that time. At The Martin Law Firm, our attorneys can also help expunge a person’s record when the time comes.
Contact A DUI Defense Lawyer in PA
If cited or arrested for underage drinking in PA, contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers at The Martin Law Firm at 215-646-3980 to discuss your case. Our attorneys can evaluate the circumstances of an underage drinking charge and provide the necessary legal advice and action.