Can I participate in a first-time offender for Underage Drinking?

Centre County Diversionary Programs for Summary Offenses

Many first-time offenders of summary, non-traffic offenses like Underage Drinking, Public Drunkenness, Possession of a Fake ID, Retail Theft, and Disorderly Conduct are permitted by State College judges to participate in a first-time offender or pre-adjudicative disposition programs that allow for the dismissal of the charge. State College diversionary programs often require a person to pay court costs (no fines because the person is not convicted), complete community service, and complete counseling or education classes.  The precise requirements of a diversionary program vary from judge to judge across the state of Pennsylvania, and the programs even vary amongst the State College judges. A dismissed charge remains on the government records, but a dismissed charge is immediately eligible to be expunged. In order to expunge, the person must file the appropriate petition with the Clerk of Courts to start the expungement process.

Do I need a lawyer?

While these types of cases and resolutions are not complicated for an experienced criminal defense attorney, they are difficult to navigate for a normal person that is not familiar with the legal process and legal jargon.  For example, many people assume or think that “dismissed” means that the records are destroyed. As mentioned above, a dismissal remains on the records. An expungement must be filed to have records of the incident destroyed.

If a person makes a mistake and fails to complete the diversionary program, the person is convicted of the offense and cannot expunge the conviction for a period of time. After things go wrong, it is often more difficult or even impossible to fix a problem after the fact. With an attorney handling the case, the client can focus on Penn State classes and the parent can sleep at night knowing that everything is being handled by a professional. What is peace of mind worth?

The attorneys at the State College criminal defense firm of JD Law have been representing Penn State students charged with criminal offenses since 2004.  Contact the JD Law Office for a FREE CONSULTATION regarding your Underage Drinking or other summary charge. Contact us by email or leave a message at (814) 689-9139.