A lot of alcohol is consumed in Philadelphia. People both young and old drink it for various reasons. Some drink in moderation and others drink to the point of intoxication. The majority of people who consume alcohol do so legally, but there are many young people under 21 years old who also consume alcohol. There are a number of colleges and universities in Philadelphia and underage drinking is a relatively common activity.
Underage drinking may seem like a relatively minor issue to many. The young people involved may not think about the consequences when they see their peers doing it. Even the parents may think that it is simply kids being kids and that it won't really affect their future.
However, that common perception is not always true. The consequences for underage drinking can be severe and can impact a young person's future. The person will have a criminal record and the conviction will have to be disclosed on school and job applications.
Luckily, if it is the person's first underage drinking offense, they may be able to enter into a diversion program to avoid a conviction. The person will have to complete community service or other forms of service. If the person completes the required amount of service within the time limits, then the charge will be dismissed and there will be no conviction. If the person does not complete the requirements within the specified time, the case will continue and a conviction may result.
While numerous young people in Philadelphia are charged with underage drinking every year, it does not mean that it is a harmless crime. There are both long and short term consequences for a conviction. However, first time offenders may be able to avoid a conviction through a diversion program. Experienced attorneys understand these programs and may be able to guide a person through the process.
Source: Pennsylvania State Legislature, "Pennsylvania Statute Title 42 section 1520", accessed on December 7, 2015