Reducing the Consequences of an Underage Drinking Citation
Taking that first swig of alcohol is seen as a right of passage for many teens. This is much to the dismay of parents and guardians who can only keep reminding them of the possible consequences.
No matter how much scolding or warning is provided, teenagers typically manage to get their hands on a drink or two when no adults are around. The majority of young individuals don’t realize the impact that an underage drinking citation in Pennsylvania can have on them.
While summary offenses are not on the same level as felony or misdemeanor charges, repeat convictions can prove to be problematic in the future.
Legal Drinking Age in Pennsylvania
Just like all the other states, Pennsylvania’s legal drinking age is 21. Anyone caught transporting, consuming, or purchasing alcohol under the age of 21 can end up with a drinking citation. Although this may seem like a very minor offense, it comes with numerous serious drinking citation consequences that can prove to be damaging to an individual’s future.
Criminal Consequences of Underage Drinking
A person convicted of underage drinking could easily face jail time and will likely have to pay a hefty fine. Several factors can contribute to the amount of the fine and the length of a jail sentence, but fines typically range from $500-$1,000 and a sentence of up to 3 months in jail is a possibility as a consequence.
Here’s what happens when you get caught drinking under 21:
Driving Privilege Suspension
It’s not unheard of for an offender to get his or her driving privileges revoked for a conviction in underage drinking. Those who don’t yet have a learning permit will only be able to obtain one after the completion of their sentenced suspension period. For minors who depend greatly on their vehicles to get them back and forth to school and work, having their license suspended is a pretty huge deal that could severely impact their day-to-day lives.
Not only is a citation for underage drinking a criminal offense, but lots of educational institutions regularly penalize students who end up in this untoward legal situation. Convicted underage drinkers can have their extra-curricular activities suspended by the school they’re currently enrolled in, and scholarships revoked. Furthermore, counseling and alcohol programs may also be required by the school.
How to Get a Drinking Ticket Dropped in PA?
Getting an Underage Drinking Citation Dropped
Individuals with an underage drinking citation in Erie PA may be tempted to simply settle the underage drinking fine, particularly when it’s not too costly and no jail time has been added by the preceding judge. It must, however, be noted that settling a fine is the equivalent of a guilty plea to the charge — and a guilty plea equates to a criminal record. Additionally, any subsequent charges against said individual can lead to far harsher penalties.
As to be expected with any charge of a criminal nature, it’s within the best interest of the accused to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense lawyer, preferably one who has dealt with underage drinking charges before. A reputable legal representative can help with the dismissal of any charge or the reduction of the consequences that surround it.