People in Philadelphia find many reasons to drink alcohol throughout the year. It could be a birthday, a sporting event, a happy hour with friends or co-workers, family holidays and many others. Also, not just adults find reasons to drink. Minors find reasons to consume alcohol, as well. One holiday, however, that tends to unite both adult and underage drinkers is St. Patrick's Day.
This St. Patrick's Day was no different. At the parade in Philadelphia, 30 underage drinkers were issued citations in a six-hour span. There was a concerted effort by the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement at Love Park to control the drinking. Of the 30 underage drinkers cited, 19 of them were between 18 and 20 years old, 10 were minors and another minor was cited for resisting arrest.
Many underage drinkers do not think about the consequences of an underage drinking conviction. They may think that it is not a serious offense, as it is common practice, especially among the students at various colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area. There are serious consequences, though, beyond the fines associated with the citation. Minors also will lose their driver's license for a period of time and they also will have a criminal record. This criminal conviction may have to be disclosed on school and job applications and is likely to show up on background checks.
While underage drinking may be a relatively common practice in Philadelphia, especially on St. Patrick's Day, it does not mean that the consequences are minor. In addition to the immediate consequences of a fine and license suspension, there are also long-term consequences, which can be much more detrimental than the immediate ones. There may be defenses available, depending on the facts, and also ways to avoid having a criminal record. Experienced criminal attorneys understand these defenses and may be able to help protect one's rights.
Source: NBC 10, "Liquor control officers bust dozens of underage drinkers at Philadelphia's St. Patrick's Day parade" Dan Stamm, March 16, 2015