State College Underage Drinking Attorney

State College criminal defense attorney Jason Dunkle has been representing Penn State students and visitors charged with alcohol-related offense like Underage Drinking, Possession of a Fake ID, and Public Drunkenness since 2004.  Some cases can be fought and won, and Attorney Dunkle has a history of obtaining favorable resolutions in underage drinking cases.  Other cases should be negotiated with the officer and judge to obtain a favorable result.

Underage Drinking FAQ

The criminal justice system often does not make sense, and when people try to apply common sense to understand the process, things go awry. For example, people expect that the police must have breath or blood test evidence or have administered DUI tests in order to have sufficient evidence to charge a person with Underage Drinking. That is not the case. People question how a person can be charged with a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. 6308 when it references “purchase” of alcohol by a minor. A 6308 violation actually prohibits a person under 21 from transporting, possessing, purchasing, or consuming, so that charge is used if a minor does any of those things. Have additional questions about Underage Drinking, check out our FAQ page here.

How Severe is a Charge of Underage Drinking in Pennsylvania

Many people think underage drinking is no big deal because it is something that almost every college student does, almost a right of passage. While the drinking culture at universities has not changed, the handling by law enforcement has changed. More citations are issued as Penn State has taken more of a “zero tolerance” policy, and records of such incidents are now retained and are more readily accessible to bacgkround search companies.

Overall, the summary offense of Underage Drinking is not nearly as severe as a misdemeanor DUI or drug possession. A person is rarely sentenced to jail time for an Underage Drinking conviction. The penalties for a conviction of underage drinking in Pennsylvania are quite severe financially, with a maximum fine of $500.00 for a first offense and up to a $1,000.00 fine for future convictions.

Will Underage Drinking Appear on a Background Search

In Pennsylvania, even low level summary charges like Underage Drinking can be found in a government database called the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC). This database is often searched by private, non-governmental background search companies, so a conviction would appear on a background search. Having an Underage Drinking conviction on a record is not likely to prevent a person from getting a job, but it also is common sense that having no record is bettern than having a record. If a person gets into trouble again, the Underage conviction may prevent a person from getting a favorable resolution in the future case. For example, if a Penn State student gets an Underage citation as an 18-year old freshman and pleads guilty, and if that student was later charged with a summary offense of Public Drunkenness as a senior, the student probably would be required to plead guilty to the Public Drunkenness. The student is now graduating with two minor convictions, but the convictions show a pattern of illegal behavior that is a negative with employers. Had the student been able to get the Underage dismissed and expunged, then the student probably could have avoided a conviction in the Public Drunkenness case too. So, instead of graduating with two marks on a record, the student could graduate with NO record.

Can I Represent Myself in an Underage Drinking Case

Self-representation is permitted but not recommended. If you are in a car accident, do you fix your car or do you hire a mechanic? You could fix the car, but you generally accept that you don’t know what you are doing and you want to make sure that the vehicle is fixed correctly. Hiring a lawyer is no different.  A lawyer has the knowledge to know how best to minimize the damage and “fix” the mistake. Too often students and parents find out that they were wrong about things with a case, but lack of knowledge or ignorance is not an excuse that allows things to be fixed later.  that was madeis hired to clean up a mess and fix a problem so that the client knows that things are done and done right. Too often parents state “if only I had known, I would have done things differently,” but, at that point, it is too late. By hiring an experienced lawyer to fix the problem, it allows the student to focus on school, and it allows the parent to sleep better at night knowing that all is be taken care of in the best way.

Free Consultation

If you or someone you know has been charged with Underage Drinking, DUI, or Possession of a Fake ID, have the case reviewed by an experienced and reputable criminal defense attorney. When considering which attorney to hire, click here for a review of factors that you should consider. For a free case review with an experienced State College Underage Drinking attorney, contact JD Law via email or leave a message at (814) 689-9139.