Will an Underage Drinking conviction appear on a background search?

Underage Drinking in Pennsylvania is a summary offense that does NOT require a person to be “processed,” which means a person is not fingerprinted. Without being processed, the Pennsylvania State Police and FBI do not have a record of the incident. If a background search is conducted only of those two databases, the Underage Drinking offense would not appear. However, there is another records database in Pennsylvania called the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) that is publicly accessible and does reference summary offenses like Underage Drinking and Public Drunkenness. If the background search company searched the AOPC, a summary conviction would be noted on the background search report provided to the employer. Many government records checks are limited to the PA State Police and FBI. Many private employers and landlords seem to hire background search companies that search the AOPC database, and because that database contains information about summary convictions, an Underage Drinking conviction will often appear on a background search report.

Avoiding or Expunging an Underage Drinking Record

Because an Underage Drinking conviction could appear on a background search and thereby be considered by a potential employer, it is often a good idea to try to avoid an Underage Drinking conviction or to take steps to expunge a conviction if eligible.  Many first time offenders of Underage Drinking can participate in a diversionary program to have the charge dismissed. A dismissed charge remains on the records. In order to have the records destroyed, a person must go through the expungement process.

The attorneys at the State College criminal defense firm of JD Law have represented hundreds of Penn State students and former students charged with Underage Drinking.  To discuss current criminal charges or expungement eligibility, contact use via email or leave a message at (814) 689-9139.