Bucks County Underage Drinking Attorney

With Pennsylvania's many colleges and universities, it's not surprising that underage drinking is one of the most commonly charged offenses in the state. It doesn't matter if you're a student or not, the ramifications of these charges can affect you for the rest of your life.

For the purposes of this article, we will address the (1) laws involving underage drinking, and (2) the penalties associated with this crime.

Underage Drinking Laws in Pennsylvania

The official term for underage drinking and other related actions in Pennsylvania is called “minor in possession.” Through the enforcement of this law, it is illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to do the following:

  • Buy, or attempt to buy alcohol
  • To knowingly and intentionally transport alcohol
  • To possess alcohol
  • To consume alcohol

The state has criminalized all attempted methods underage residents use to obtain alcohol. It dictates that people under the age of 21 who use false identification, portray a dishonest guise, or misrepresent themselves in the pursuit of alcoholic beverages will face criminal charges. The state's juvenile code also has legislation prohibiting underage employees from working in spaces and environments where alcohol is sold.

Statutory law also clarifies what would technically constitute as an “alcoholic beverage.” Any liquor, malt, or brewed beverage that contains at least .50% or more alcohol by volume will be legally deemed an alcoholic beverage. This leaves little room for leniency, as even drinks with incredibly small amounts of alcohol - including beer and wine - could lead to a criminal charges for underage residents.

Penalties

Underage drinking is classified as a summary offense in Pennsylvania, which means that a defendant does not usually have to attend a jury trial in order to prosecuted. His or her guilt or innocence will likely be decided by a judge. If a judge concludes that a violation has occurred, the repercussions for a minor in possession charge can be serious.

First offense

  • Maximum jail sentence at the Bucks County Correctional Facility for up to 90 days
  • A fine of up to $500
  • License suspension for 90 days

Second offense

  • Maximum jail sentence of 90 days
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • License suspension for one year

Third offense

  • A maximum jail sentence of 90 days
  • A fine up to $1,000
  • License suspension for two years

It's important to note that although possible jail time or incarceration is listed as one of the penalties for most underage drinking offenses, it is rarely imposed upon defendants. Whether or not a judge will see fit to impose this punishment depends solely on the circumstances of your case. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney can help reduce this sentence or get your case dismissed altogether.

Bucks County Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child has been charged with any offense related to underage drinking, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. An experienced legal professional will be able to guide you through the whole legal process. Crucial advice like how to interact with the police, and the options your child has based on the circumstances of his or hers case. Skilled Bucks County attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully advocating for underage clients who have acquired these charges, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania and New Jersey attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, Outside of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance is educational advice, and does not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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