At the recent Penn State football game, an overly intoxicated student tried to avoid charges of Underage Drinking and Public Drunkenness by attempting to flee from the police, and, when officers stopped his retreat, it is alleged that the student resisted arrested and assaulted at least one officer. In trying to avoid relatively minor offenses, the student made the situation tremendously worse as he was charged with both misdemeanor and felony offenses. The young man will face punishment in the criminal system, and, as a student, he will face consequences with the Penn State disciplinary process through the Office of Student Conduct.
Pennsylvania Summary Offenses
While no one wants to be charged with a criminal offense, summary citations like Underage Drinking and Disorderly Conduct are the least severe offenses. Most summary offenses carry a maximum fine of $300.00 and up to 90 days in jail, but judges rarely impose a sentence of incarceration. Underage Drinking is treated differently than other summary offenses as it carries a maximum fine of $500.00 for first offenses and $1,000.00 for subsequent offenses. A conviction of Underage Drinking also results in a suspension of Pennsylvania driving privileges, 90 days for a first offense, 1 year for a second offense, and 2 years for every subsequent offense.
State College Misdemeanor and Felony Charges
Instead of only being charged with summary offenses, the Penn State student's actions led to the filing of felony Aggravated Assault and misdemeanor Resisting Arrest charges. The young man was charged with Aggravated Assault for causing or attempting to cause a "bodily injury" to a police officer. While causing a "bodily injury" to most people is a misdemeanor offense of Simple Assault, Pennsylvania law has a list of persons, such as police officers, judges, teachers, and firemen, that are given special treatment based upon their positions. Causing or attempting to cause an injury to a special person results in a charge of Aggravated Assault. In this particular case, the student was charged with a second degree felony, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years incarceration and a $25,000.00 fine. Aside from the severe sentences, a felony conviction also results in severe collateral consequences, such as a lifetime ban on the possession of firearms and increased difficulty in obtaining employment. The Resisting Arrest charge is a misdemeanor of the second degree and thereby punishable by up to 2 years incarceration and a $5,000.00 fine.
This appears to be another example of a Penn State student having a bit too much to drink and making some bad decisions while under the influence. Hopefully, he hires an experienced State College criminal defense attorney that can resolve the case and reduce the long term consequences of the bad decisions that were made.