Penalties for Underage Drinking
The penalties for underage drinking vary, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. In general, however, the following penalties apply to underage drinking in Pennsylvania:
- Possessing or transporting alcohol: A fine of not more than $500; 90-day suspension of your driver’s license for your first offense; a one-year suspension for your second offense; and a two-year suspension for any offenses thereafter. The parents of the underage person will be notified by the police.
- Using a Fake ID to Obtain Alcohol: A fine of not more than $500; 90-day suspension of your driver’s license for your first offense; a one-year suspension for your second offense; and a two-year suspension for any offenses thereafter.
- Underage DUI: If you are under the age of 18, a juvenile complaint will be filed against you and your parents will be notified of your arrest. You could be required to pay a fine, be sent to juvenile lock up, and/or be placed on probation.
If you are over the age of 18, you may be ordered to attend an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program. If you don’t qualify for the program, you could be sentenced to a minimum of 48 hours and up to six months in jail. Additionally, you face a mandatory six-month suspension of your driver’s license, you will be fined between $500 and $5,000, and you will be required to perform up to 150 hours of community service.
For those arrested a second, third, or fourth time for underage DUI, all of the penalties are potentially enhanced.
Underage Drinking and Pennsylvania Law
In Pennsylvania, a minor can be charged and prosecuted for underage drinking even if they haven’t actually consumed any alcohol. If the police catch a minor in possession of alcohol or buying alcohol, the juvenile can be charged with underage drinking even though no alcohol was consumed. Once charged and convicted, a mandatory 90-day license suspension is applied for first-time convictions. A second conviction will result in a year-long suspension, while a third conviction carries a two-year driver’s license suspension.
If the Law Offices of James Crosby is brought into an underage drinking case early in the process, we may be able to prevent the suspension of a minor’s license and other penalties. Here, it is essential to try and resolve a case before PennDot learns of the minor’s underage violation. If you have already been convicted for underage drinking, you may still qualify for a limited license or have grounds for filing an appeal.
Avoiding additional Legal Complications in Underage Drinking Cases
In most cases involving underage drinking, the court is interested in giving a young person a second chance rather than punishing them per se. Our experienced attorneys counsel and prepare young people before they appear in court. We explain what you need to do to convince the court that you are ready to act responsibly and can, in many cases, reduce the sentence against you. If you drive to school or work and are worried about the length of your license suspension, we may be able to work with the court in shortening or avoiding the suspension of your license altogether.
To schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you, call 412-391-0123 for the Law Offices of James Crosby today.