West Chester University is a partying school; of this there is no doubt. Parties mean beer and college parties mean beer ingested by underaged persons. A decent amount of these persons will get underaged drinking tickets. They will also have to go to court to fight the ticket because pleading guilty to an underaged drinking ticket is insanity.A conviction for a first underaged drinking means a 90 day loss of drivers license (or loss of Pennsylvania driving privilege if one is an out of state resident); a second offense is 1 year; a third offense is 2 years. Pleading guilty is not an option.
What to do if you are charged with Underaged Drinking:
- Call an experienced Pennsylvania Underage Drinking Lawyer. Believe or not there are lawyers who are a LOT better at defending this charge than others. Don’t doubt it. I am one.
- Do NOT send your ticket in. Show it to your lawyer first.
- Do NOT enter into a “diversionary program” without talking to a lawyer first. This is because some of the programs involve a license suspension and some do not. You have to know the difference.
- Your license is NOT suspended when you receive a ticket. You need to be convicted first and then your PennDot suspension comes to you by mail.
- Your first court date will be in front of District Justice Mark Bruno who is located in the County Courthouse on Market Street in West Chester. That is the District Court that has jurisdiction over the majority of West Chester University. If you have a lawyer, he or she will attend.
- If you are found ‘guilty’ in front of Judge Bruno then you may take a Summary Appeal to have the case heard in front of a Court of Common Pleas Judge and there will be a district attorney representing the Commonwealth. This is the ‘second bite at the apple’. Your lawyer will represent you here also.
- At this hearing, the case gets heard again and if the appeal is denied, you will have to pay a fine and endure the license suspension.
- About three weeks later you will receive a notice from PennDot that your license will be suspended.
As a PA Drivers License Lawyer, I urge all West Chester students to be careful coming back to school and to avoid situations where alcohol is involved which could involve police intervention. Use your common sense. If you are unlucky enough to find yourself charged with Underaged Drinking, contact a lawyer who will help you get out of trouble and save your drivers license.