A 19-year-old engineering student recently fell sixteen feet from the balcony of a State College Apartment building and suffered a broken leg. The State College Police Department suspects that alcohol was involved, which is not surprising in a college town as alcohol and drugs tend to be involved in the vast majority of cases. The young man will probably be charged with a non-traffic summary offense of Underage Drinking. If this were a first offense of Underage Drinking, the man faces a maximum fine of $500.00 and a Pennsylvania license suspension of 90 days. The young man also faces up to 90 days in jail, but it is a very rare case that a judge sentences a student to jail for a first offense of Underage Drinking. The Penn State Office of Student Conduct will also impose a punishment for the incident, and that punishment is likely to include placement on disciplinary probation and successful completion of the alcohol education program called BASICS.
Furnishing Alcohol to Minors
According to the online news article from the Centre Daily Times, two people have already been identified by the police and are likely to be charged with furnishing alcohol to minors. In State College furnishing cases, the suspects are generally charged with a furnishing offense under the Crimes Code and a second under the Liquor Code. Both offenses are misdemeanors charges and thereby would appear on criminal background searches.
Many first-time offenders of Furnishing Alcohol to Minors at Penn State are eligible to participate in the Centre County ARD program. ARD is a pre-trial diversionary program that allows a participant to avoid a conviction, and successful completion of the program allows for the dismissal and expungement of the charges. The ultimate decision as to whether or not a person is admitted into the Pennsylvania ARD program is made by the district attorney in the county in which the charges were filed. In the last high profile furnishing alcohol to minors incident in which a Penn State cheerleader was severely injured after falling seven stories from a State College apartment, the people charged with furnishing alcohol were not approved to participate in the Centre County ARD program. Hopefully the kids involved in this case will be approved to participate in the first-time offender program and thereby avoid having a long term criminal record that will jeopardize their chances of getting a job in the already difficult job market.