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.
You can be arrested even if you have not been drinking alcohol.
Some college students believe if they avoid consuming alcohol at college parties because they are underage, they are safe. However, if the police show up at a party where alcohol is being served or consumed, anyone under the age of 21 years can be arrested on one or more underage drinking charges.
For example, simply holding an alcoholic beverage for a friend who is over the age of 21 years may result in a charge of possession of alcohol by a minor. The law does not require that you consume the alcohol, simply that you were in possession of the alcohol. Other underage drinking charges you might face include transporting alcoholic beverages and purchasing or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages.
If you are under 21 years of age, you might want to consider skipping parties where alcohol is being served. You do not want your college career to be derailed before it has had a chance to really get moving.
Penalties for underage drinking can be severe.
Many college students believe if they are arrested for the first time on underage drinking charges, and they do not have a criminal record they will get off “easy.” This assumption gets a lot of kids in trouble each year on Pennsylvania college campuses.
The potential penalties for a first-time underage drinking offense is a $500 fine, a 90-day suspension of driving privileges, and up to 90 days in jail. Yes, you could serve jail time according to the criminal code. You have a criminal record that could have far-reaching consequences on your college and job careers. Do not take the risk; it is not worth it!
The Good Samaritan Law does not always protect you.
If a friend overdoses, the Good Samaritan Law allows you to call for medical assistance without the fear of criminal penalties for underage drinking. However, you must meet all requirements under the code section to take advantage of the law. Furthermore, it does not prevent the officers from charging you with another crime. Therefore, this law may not always protect you if you have been consuming alcohol while underage.
Hire an Edinboro Underage Drinking Attorney for Help
One of the best things you can do if you are arrested is to remain silent until you speak with an attorney. You have the right to refuse to answer questions without an attorney present. Exercise this right!
One of the biggest mistakes you can do if you are arrested for underage drinking is to assume it is no “big deal” so you don’t consult with an attorney. As discussed above, there are no guarantees when you are dealing with the judicial system and the penalties for a first offense can be severe.
Contact The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our Edinboro criminal defense lawyers. You deserve to have competent legal counsel by your side as you fight charges of underage drinking.