It may not seem like a big deal to enjoy a beer or two at a frat party, especially if you have no intention of driving afterward. However, drinking under the age of 21 is considered illegal in Pennsylvania, and you could face serious consequences if you are caught. All it takes is one phone call from a neighbor to have the police knocking on the door of a frat house. If you are caught drinking while underage, you face serious penalties that could effectively ruin your college education and career. The penalties escalate if this is not your first criminal offense.
Penalties for Underage Drinking in Pennsylvania
A charge of underage drinking is considered a non-traffic summary charge. While it’s not a misdemeanor or felony, it could result in jail time if the person is convicted. A first offense carries a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail, along with fines up to $500 and license suspension for 90 days. If you receive a second charge, the fine goes up to $1,000 with a one-year license suspension. Subsequent offenses increase the suspension period to two years. Most of the time, the person receives probation instead of jail time, but the license suspension still stands.
Violating Probation By Underage Drinking
If you have been convicted of a prior DUI or other criminal offense and you are on probation, you must be very careful. A beer or two at a frat party can be considered a violation of your probation. Therefore, you will be charged with underage drinking AND violating probation if you are caught drinking while underage. Suddenly, those beers just cost you much more than a hangover the next day.
In addition to fines and possible jail time, a second charge or subsequent charges automatically increase your license suspension for underage drinking. An experienced attorney can help you get the jail time reduced or removed. However, you must consider the impact of the license suspension. A longer suspension term makes getting to class or work more difficult. You may not be able to go home to see your parents or get where you want or need to go. Two years is a long time to go without your driver’s license.
Call Our Edinboro DUI Defense Attorney Now for A Free Consultation
If you have been charged with a first or second offense of underage drinking or any subsequent charges, you need to hire an attorney. Your Edinboro DUI attorney works to see that you are treated fairly. Your attorney monitors your case to prevent your rights from being violated and provides sound legal advice about the best way to proceed regarding the criminal charge.
Even though the charge isn’t a felony or misdemeanor, a conviction can go on your public record, which may be seen by potential employers and landlords, among others. It’s important to hire an Edinboro DUI defense attorney who will work to protect your future from a conviction of underage drinking.
Contact The Travis Law Firm toll-free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Edinboro DUI defense attorneys.