Criminal Law: Consequences of Underage Drinking

  • Steve Jarmon,
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For many college age adults consuming alcohol before the age of 21 seems like a right of passage. For others, Underage Drinking in Pennsylvania can be a criminal offense with serious collateral consequences.

It is no secret that college students consume alcohol. Studies show that 80% of college students consume alcohol. The problem is that few of these kids/young adults who are under 21 know the consequences and long term damage to their reputation that can come with an Underage Drinking criminal conviction.

For starters, an Underage Drinking conviction in Pennsylvania will result in a 90 day license suspension. Regardless of whether the person was caught drinking walking down the street or in their home they would get a 90 day license suspension. Many are surprised to learn that a person could lose their privilege to drive for committing a criminal infraction that has nothing to do with driving. Unfortunately most people don’t realize this until after they have either pled guilty or been found guilty and receive a notice from Penndot a month later advising that they have to turn their driver’s license in and begin serving a suspension.

Secondly, the conviction itself can become a blemish on a person’s record and prevent or hinder their ability to obtain certain employment opportunities. Employers in certain industries like teaching or child care may shy away from a potential employee who they feel may have alcohol issues. A DUI conviction or an Underage Drinking conviction could be a signal to the potential employer that the person has a drinking problem. The employer may not be willing to take a risk on someone that they don’t feel that they can trust.

If someone is facing an Underage Drinking charge in Pennsylvania, they should consult with a Pennsylvania criminal attorney as soon as possible to discuss their options.

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