Many young people under the age of 21 drink alcohol in Philadelphia. There are various reasons for why they do it. Sometimes it may be peer pressure, or they want to fit in with a certain group. Other times it can be seen as a good way to relieve stress and have a good time. While underage drinking is relatively common, it is still illegal. Many kids drink and do not get caught, but many others do get caught and the consequences are more serious than one may think.
The police recently busted a party in the woods where there were many people aged 17 to 20 drinking. When the police arrived some of the people tried fleeing, but a few were caught by the police. In all the police issued 14 citations for underage drinking. One of the people at the party said the location was used on several occasions for underage drinking parties.
Many young people do not think that underage drinking citations are that big of a deal. However, for the 14 people cited, if convicted they will have a criminal offense on their record. This will stay on their record and show up on background checks. It may also need to be disclosed on school or job applications. Minors who are convicted of underage drinking will also have their driver's license suspended for a period of time. This is in addition to the fines that come with a conviction.
While the consequences can be serious, there are defenses to underage drinking. An arrestee may also qualify for a diversion program. These programs allow a person to keep an underage drinking conviction off their record as long as they complete a certain requirements. This is important because a conviction can have long-term consequences.
There are many young people who are charged with underage drinking each year in Philadelphia. The consequences can be more severe than a young person may realize at the time. There are defenses though and ways to keep a conviction off their record. It is important to understand the legal defenses and programs that are available in order to avoid the long-term consequences of a conviction.
Source: The News Tribune, "14 cited for underage drinking at Graham bonfire bust" Alexis Krell, June 19, 2014