For a student enrolled in a university, an offense for underage drinking could be a mistake that could haunt them for years to come. Not only will you have to deal with criminal proceedings, but you may have to contend with disciplinary proceedings from the college that you attend. If you are a student at Lehigh University and you were arrested for underage drinking, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia underage drinking lawyer today.
At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, we understand that every person is prone to make a deeply regrettable mistake, and we are here for you. While underage drinking is not the most serious offense that you can commit in Pennsylvania, it can still have a heavy impact on your academic and personal life. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 515-6389, or contact us online.
Pennsylvania Underage Drinking Laws
The legal drinking age in Pennsylvania, and across the United States, is 21 years of age. There are several circumstances where a minor could be arrested for underage drinking. For example, if an underage person attempts to purchase alcohol but does not get a chance to consume it, this is considered underage drinking.
Aside from the consumption of alcohol, a minor could also be arrested for underage drinking if they possess or knowingly transfer alcohol from one location to another. For example, if you did not purchase alcohol but were given alcohol to supply to other students on campus, this can lead to an arrest for underage drinking if you are caught.
It is also important to note that you can face additional criminal charges if you commit another offense while drinking underage. For example, if you were behind the wheel of a vehicle when you were discovered to be drunk, you can be arrested for drunk driving and underage drinking.
Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates understand that experimenting with new experiences and the consumption of alcohol can often become commonplace in a college setting, even for those that are underage. However, failing to see the possible consequences of your actions can land you in legal and academic trouble. If you wish to learn more about the criminal penalties for underage drinking in Pennsylvania, you should continue reading and speak with an experienced Lehigh Valley criminal defense lawyer.
Criminal Penalties for Underage Drinking
Underage drinking is a summary offense in Pennsylvania. A defendant that is convicted of underage drinking for the first time can receive a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and up to $500 in criminal fines. It is also likely that the defendant will have their license suspended for three months despite whether they were arrested while behind the wheel of a vehicle.
For a second underage drinking offense, a defendant can still face up to 90 days in jail, but they will likely owe a fine of $1,000 and have their license suspended for a year. The penalties for a third offense are substantially the same except the defendant’s license can be suspended for up to two years.
While 90 days in prison is one of the criminal penalties for underage drinking, law enforcement and the court is often willing to cooperate with the offender in many circumstances. For example, if an underage drinker is a first-time offender, Pennsylvania permits the magisterial district judge to determine whether the offender would be better suited for a rehabilitation program.
It is important to note that if you avoid jail time and are assigned to a rehabilitation program, you will have to perform all requirements of the program. If you do not complete the program, your charges can be reinstated, and you can face criminal penalties once again.
If you are concerned about how your university might respond to your arrest for underage drinking, you should begin by consulting the student handbook. While underage drinking is undoubtedly an act that violates the student code of conduct, each university may have different procedures for dealing with this situation.
If your school requires you to have a disciplinary hearing, we can help you extensively prepare for this scenario. We can help you gather evidence or witnesses to plead your case in front of the disciplinary board.
Our Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorneys are Here for You
If you are concerned about how an underage drinking offense may affect your status as a student, contact an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney today. The legal team at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates possess decades of criminal law experience, and we are prepared to use this knowledge to fight for you. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss your case, contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 515-6389.