Underage Drinking

Whether you’re a young adult who is still under the legal drinking age of 21 or your child is facing an underage drinking citation, a York, Pa., attorney can help you understand your rights under the law. Anyone younger than 21 who is caught drinking or in possession of alcohol in Pennsylvania can receive an underage drinking citation.

Although it’s not considered a serious offense, underage drinking can carry some serious consequences, including the loss of your driving privileges or a hefty fine.

First-time offenders

First-time offenders can face several possible punishments for an underage drinking offense, including the following:

  • losing your driver’s license for 90 days;
  • a maximum fine of $300 (plus court costs);
  • up to 90 days in jail;
  • or notification of parents or guardians if you’re younger than 18.

For first-time offenders charged with underage drinking, it’s possible that a magistrate judge will grant you community service in favor of dropping the charges, although it is not required of the judge to do so. In some cases, you do not have to plead guilty to the offense to be admitted into a community service program. Once the court-ordered community service is completed, in those cases, you will not have a criminal conviction on your record.

However, the record of a citation might still exist and can be found on background checks. A Central PA defense attorney can help you get the citation expunged, freeing you from future issues that could arise when seeking employment, signing up for college or applying for credit.

Multiple offenses

Those who are facing additional underage drinking offenses could face similar, although more severe, punishments, including:

  • a 1-year driver’s license suspension for a second offense;
  • a 2-year driver’s license suspension for three or more offenses;
  • a maximum fine of $500 (plus court costs);
  • up to 90 days in jail;
  • or notification of parents or guardians if you’re younger than 18.

Other options

Adjudication alternative program: A York County underage drinking lawyer can help you determine what your options are in terms of community service, alcohol education classes and other areas in which a judge might grant you a clean record and help you avoid expensive fines.

Summary conviction appeal: If you’re unsatisfied with the decisions made by a magisterial district judge, you can appeal the summary in the Court of Common Pleas. This includes underage drinking and disorderly conduct offenses.

Consult a Pennsylvania underage drinking attorney

When faced with an underage drinking offense, it’s best to consult an experienced York, Pa., attorney who will fight for your rights. Korey Leslie Attorney-at-Law has the drive and experience to represent clients facing summary offenses. Call 717-845-5353 for your free consultation.