Will an Underage Drinking charge appear on criminal background searches?
In Pennsylvania, a charge of Underage Drinking can be found in a government database that is free and readily available to the public. When a Penn State student is charged with Underage Drinking, the citation is filed in a Magisterial District Court in State College, and a docket sheet of the case can be found in the database. Many of the background search companies that you can locate through the Internet upload the database and either provide the information for free on their site or sell it to subscribers. In the past, background search information was not obtained until a prospective employer requested the information, and the request triggered a search of government records. Now, many of the Internet background search companies upload the entire database from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC), so the company has the records of all persons charged in Pennsylvania before a specific request is made. The government records may be expunged or removed from the government databases in the future, but the charges remain in the databases of the background search companies. This means that an expungement of the government records may not prevent a prospective employer from discovering the offense. Given the relative ease in accessing the database, Underage Drinking offenses do often appear on criminal background searches and thereby are considered by prospective employers.
The best way to keep an Underage Drinking charge from appearing on criminal background searches is to have the charge dismissed in a manner that allows for its prompt expungement. Simply stated, the more quickly that an Underage Drinking charge is expunged from the government’s database, the less likely that it is to be obtained by the private Internet background search companies and thereby be disclosed to prospective employers. You should hire a criminal defense attorney, such as State College attorney Jason S. Dunkle, that has experience in handling Underage Drinking cases.