Philadelphia Underage Drinking Attorney

In Philadelphia, law enforcement has cracked down on underage drinking, all in hopes of preventing individuals under 21 from having access to or being within proximity to alcoholic beverages. But with this demographic's substantial exposure to these substances - like on college campuses or at parties, for example - many underage residents find themselves in a sticky situations with the law, where the ramifications can adversely affect their lives forever.

Misinformation is the root cause of many of the issues surrounding underage drinking. Many underage clients are under the impression that you have to be consuming a beverage to constitute an arrest. But this isn't the case. Merely being caught possessing an alcoholic beverage upon the arrival of law enforcement could lead to underage drinking charges.

For the purposes of this article, we will address the (1) laws in the state of Pennsylvania regarding this criminal charge, and (2) the penalties commonly imposed upon the conviction of this offense in the state.

Underage Drinking Laws in Pennsylvania

The formal term for underage drinking in Pennsylvania is called “minor in possession.” In accordance with this law, it is illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to commit the following actions:

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

State law also dictates that using false identification, or any other guise or misrepresentation to possess alcohol is also illegal. In order to deter the rates of underage drinking, the state has also criminalized the act of hiring minors in work spaces and environments where alcohol is sold.

For further clarification, state law explicitly defines what is considered an “alcoholic beverage.” Any liquor, malt or brewed beverage that contain at least .50% or more alcohol by volume will be legally ruled as an alcoholic beverage. This means that drinks that contain incredibly small amounts of alcohol - including beer and wine - could result in a criminal charge for people under the age of 21.

Penalties

Underage drinking is a summary offense in the state, which means that a defendant does not have to attend a jury trial for his or her's guilt or innocence to be determined. If a judge concludes that a violation has occurred, the repercussions for a minor in possession charge can be pretty serious.

For a first offense, an individual may undergo a license suspension and be required to pay a fine of $500. Subsequent offenses will lead to a lengthier license suspension and a fine of at least $1,000. Depending on the circumstances of a case, a judge may see fit to impose a jail sentence.

The creation of a criminal record also has a set of repercussions of its own. Every arrest, and run-in with law enforcement will be accessible by record on the internet for potential employers, higher education institutions and government aid programs to see. Underage drinking is seen as irresponsible, and could hinder you from landing the job you want, joining the military, or from furthering your education.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child has been charged with an offense related to underage drinking, you should immediately consult with an attorney. An attorney will be able to provide advice as to how to interact with the police, as well as the legal options your child has based on the circumstances of a case. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has successfully represented clients who have acquired these charges, by getting the charges reduced or completely dismissed. He can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.

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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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