Has your child been accused of a crime in Pennsylvania? If so, you must take the matter very seriously, regardless of how ‘minor’ the charge. It is a mistake to consider any criminal charge ‘minor’ because all criminal convictions carry some consequence for your child. It is also a mistake to assume a judge or jury will go lightly on your child because he or she is under 18 years of age. While most courts want to see children rehabilitated rather than imprisoned, your child could still face jail time and other severe penalties depending on the crime.
We urge you to contact our office for a free legal consultation as soon as possible. Our Erie criminal defense attorney wants to hear your child’s side of the story. We care about what happened, and we want to help you and your child achieve the most positive outcome possible given the facts of the case.
With the national news coverage of the tragic death of Timothy Piazza at a Penn State University fraternity party earlier this year, the subject of underage drinking on college campuses in Pennsylvania and throughout the company has been the topic of many discussions. For many college students, parties and drinking are part of college life. However, when the consumption of alcohol is taken to excess, the consequences can be overwhelmingly tragic.
However, even with the increased news coverage of drinking on college campuses, many college students at Pennsylvania colleges do not know three basic facts about underage drinking.
Underage drinking is a serious problem throughout the United States. Even with the increase of educational programs and PSAs, there are still a large number of teenagers who drink alcohol. According to information provided by SADD, 26.4 percent of young people between the ages of 12 and 20 years reported using alcohol within the past 30 days.
Almost 18 percent of those report binge drinking. Almost three-quarters of high school students have used alcohol before graduation and a third of middle school student report consuming alcohol by eighth grade. Now, it appears that parents have another thing to worry about — alcohol delivered right to their door.
As an Edinboro DUI attorney, I see the devastating impact that underage drinking can have on the lives of young people and their families. The holidays are especially a difficult time for many young people who do not understand the dangers associated with underage drinking. As parents, we can take steps to prevent underage drinking during the holidays.
How Prevalent Is Underage Drinking During the Holidays?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), more than 11,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 years will consume alcohol for the first time on an average December day. Approximately 400 young people under the age of 21 years die each month from alcohol-related causes. Therefore, it is crucial that adults learn the signs and symptoms of underage drinking in order to spot a problem before it becomes life-threatening.
A new law allows for the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Pennsylvania. The state legislature passed the law allowing the use of cannabis in the Medical Marijuana Act. Pennsylvania is the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. However, recreational use of marijuana in Pennsylvania is still considered illegal.
If you are facing a marijuana criminal charge, you need to contact an Edinboro marijuana defense attorney as soon as possible. A conviction on a Pennsylvania marijuana charge can follow you the rest of your life impacting everything from where you attend school to the job that you want and your ability to own a firearm.
If you have been accused of underage drinking and operating a vehicle while under the influence, the penalties can be severe. That’s why it’s in your best interests to consult with a knowledgeable underage DUI attorney in Pennsylvania as soon as possible after you have been charged or arrested for DUI.
Fatal Car Accidents Feature a Disproportionate Amount of DUI Drivers Under Age
In PA, drivers under 21 only make up 10 percent of the licensed drivers on the road, but they account for 12 percent of the DUI-related deaths. With such a high number of fatalities associated with underage drivers, the standards are tighter and officers have very little tolerance for anyone who appears to be guilty.
Some other charges frequently linked to underage DUI include:
- Minor in possession
- Soliciting alcohol
- Possession of false identification
- Other traffic violations
In addition to other charges that might be coupled with a DUI, an individual who is convicted of underage drinking might be facing penalties like fines, jail time, and license suspension. Any criminal convictions will follow you through life and may make it very difficult to land a job, or get accepted at a university later. Understanding the full range of consequences is necessary, and that’s why a meeting with an experienced defense attorney is recommended immediately.
Other Penalties Associated with Underage DUI
The penalties associated with an underage DUI don’t stop there, though. Some insurance companies might elect to terminate your coverage altogether after an underage DUI. If you’re lucky enough to keep coverage, you might be paying a hefty increase in insurance premiums (to the tune of $100 or more.) To make matters even worse, the insurance increase might stay in place for up to five years.
Charged With DUI? Schedule A Free Consultation With A PA DUI Lawyer
As you can see, there are numerous penalties for an underage DUI that may continue to haunt you for months or years after this unfortunate incident. One of the most important things you can do after you have been accused is to take the matter seriously by retaining a knowledgeble Erie underage DUI attorney. There is simply too much on the line for your future to ignore the potential that a conviction represents. Respond to these charges as quickly as possible by asking for a criminal defense attorney and rely on his or her expertise to guide you through the process. A lawyer who has worked with underage DUIs in Erie before is essential for your success.
Any college student in the Erie area who is facing a criminal charge such as underage drinking or driving under the influence probably has many questions about how a possible conviction could influence their life. Being in college, you have major concerns about your ability to access federal student aid. Since many individuals rely on federal student aid to support them through college and pay for tuition and other necessary materials, you need to carefully consider how a conviction could influence your future.
Potential Repercussions For College Students
If you are given parole or probation as part of your conviction, you may still be eligible for federal student aid. That being said, if you were convicted of an offense related to drugs or if you were subject to a civil commitment as a result of a sexual offense, your eligibility may be limited. Even in the event that you do serve your time, you might lose eligibility for your federal student aid benefits for a few years or even forever depending on your charges. This is why you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney in Erie who has an understanding of the potential repercussions for college students.
Drug Convictions Versus Sexual Offenses
Anytime that you have been convicted of a forcible or non-forcible sexual offense, and you have been subject to a civil commitment on the completion of your incarceration period for that offense, you are unable to receive certain types of federal aid like a Federal Pell Grant. You can regain eligibility for federal student aid that was blocked by a drug conviction if you complete an approved drug rehabilitation program or pass through unannounced drug test administered by that program.
Talk To A Defense Lawyer To Discuss Your Legal Options After A Criminal Conviction
If you are able to regain eligibility for federal student financial aid during the award year, you need to communicate this with your college federal student aid office as soon as possible. Talk through your options with your Erie criminal defense attorney so that you are clear about the potential implications of dealing with a situation such as a criminal conviction. A criminal conviction can haunt you for several years to come, but knowing your options for serving the sentence and minimizing the chances that you will be convicted can be extremely helpful. Your attorney should be someone you can trust from the moment you are arrested for a crime. Schedule your free, confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights with a criminal defense attorney at The Travis Law Firm.
Pennsylvania Juvenile Defense Attorney Serving Erie, Edinboro, Warren, and All of Northwestern PA
Lots of parents we talk to, and some college students too, believe they don’t need a defense attorney to handle juvenile offenses. Nothing could be further from the truth. Juvenile offenses do not ‘disappear’ in time, they are simply kept on a separate criminal record. These offenses can follow you for the rest of your life and negatively impact your future.
Some of the juvenile defense cases we have handled include:
Theft: To include shoplifting, car theft, burglary, robbery, and petty larceny.
Drug Violations: To include possession of illegal or controlled substances, marijuana, cocaine, or any other narcotic possession. We can also help you with any drug trafficking charges.
DUI Offenses: To include underage drinking, driving under the influence (DUI, DWI) and purchasing or possessing alcohol.
Violent Crimes: To include assault (simple or aggravated), sexual assault, statutory rape, or date rape.
Talk to an experienced Pennsylvania Juvenile Defense Attorney today by getting your free, confidential consultation about your legal rights. Make an informed decision and take care of this matter properly, your future may depend on it.