How to Handle an Underage Drinking Arrest in Montgomery County, PA
A number of high school students in Montgomery County, PA take their first alcoholic drink at a party with friends.
A Pennsylvania Youth Survey found that nearly 32 percent of students are “willing to try alcohol.” Over 50 percent of the survey participants in 10th grade reported that they had already experienced drinking.
Curiosity is a compelling force for many at this young age, while some succumb to the peer pressure. However, many youngsters (and sometimes even parents) are unaware that underage drinking in Montgomery County, PA is a legal offense.
Underage Drinking Law in Pennsylvania
The underage drinking law in Pennsylvania states that any person under the age of 21 is prohibited from buying, consuming, possessing, or knowingly and intentionally transporting any liquor, malt, or brewed beverages.
It is important to note that although you are legally an adult at age 18, but in Pennsylvania you are not of a legal drinking age. If convicted of underage drinking, you would be charged as an adult and face legal consequences as an adult.
If convicted for underage drinking, a person in Montgomery County, PA faces a fine of $500 and a suspension of their driver’s license for 90 days for the first offense. A second offense attracts a fine of $1,000 and license suspension for one year. For any additional offenses, the license suspension will be for two years.
The law against underage drinking in Montgomery County, PA also mandates that the parents or guardians of the minor be notified immediately about the underage drinking violation. Several universities in Pennsylvania have created their own standards with regard to students consuming alcohol on and off the campus.
For instance, the Student Drug and Alcohol Policy at Temple University states that violation of the policy can bring upon a student a variety of university sanctions, including expulsion.
Potential Lifelong Consequences
People below the age of 21 and their parents should not take a charge of underage drinking in Montgomery County, PA lightly. If convicted, the individual will have a criminal record, which could potentially impact their future education and career opportunities.
Legal Consequences for Parents and Social Hosts
In Pennsylvania, a “social host law” applies to people who choose to serve alcohol to underage individuals at a party. Under this law, if you serve alcohol to an underage person, and he or she gets injured or injures another person or damages property, you as the host can be sued for damages.
Parents who permit underage individuals to consume alcohol in their home could face civil liability, and may also face the charge of furnishing alcohol to a minor. This charge is punishable by imprisonment of up to 12 months and a minimum fine of $1,000.
The law also states that if a person under 21 is possessing or consuming alcohol at your home or property, you cannot allow it knowingly. You can call the local police for assistance for assistance or report at 1-888-UNDER-21 in Montgomery County, PA.
In a case of underage drinking, it can be sometimes possible to have the offender admitted to diversion program. If the judge decides on such pre-adjudication disposition, the charges can be dismissed upon the fulfillment of the court’s conditions, such as doing community service or attending classes.
Speak to an Experienced Attorney
If your child is facing the charge of underage drinking in Montgomery County, PA, you should seek experienced legal representation to protect their rights. Call a knowledge underage drinking lawyer who can provide diligent defense to obtain the best possible outcome.