Underage drinking in Philadelphia is a relatively common activity. There are many colleges in the area and many people that age do not think that underage drinking is that big of a deal. Also, many parents just see it as something kids that age do and do not take it seriously. However, despite the perceptions about the underage drinking, the consequences can be severe.
These penalties can increase if the minor is also ticketed for public drunkenness in addition to underage drinking. Public drunkenness means that the person is under the influence of alcohol to the point that he or she is a danger to himself or herself or those around them or are annoying to those around them. The penalties for this offense include a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 90 days in jail. These penalties increase for each subsequent offense.
If the person is underage, he or she also could receive a ticket for underage drinking. In addition to the potential fines and jail time, the person could lose his or her driver's license for a period of time. This includes a 90-day suspension for a first-time offense.
If a person is convicted of these offenses, they will have a criminal record, as well. This can be the worst punishment for underage drinking. The person will have to put the conviction on their school and job applications and it could negatively affect his or her ability to get a job or be accepted into school.
Many people in Philadelphia are charged with underage drinking and public drunkenness. It is important to avoid convictions that could result in severe penalties. There may be defenses to the crime and there are also ways that one can avoid a conviction after being charged. Experienced attorneys understand these defenses and may be able to protect one's rights.
Source: Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, "Under 21 in Pennsylvania: Know the Laws" accessed June 8, 2015