As a Pennsylvania Underage Drinking Lawyer, when I talk to parents that have hired me to represent their child who has received an underage drinking citation in Pennsylvania, I usually end up having a somewhat different conversation with them than I do the kids themselves.
The kids are usually sheepish, embarrassed, and just want everything to go away – which is the reaction one would expect. I tell them about the loss of drivers license if convicted and the fines they have to pay and what I might be able to do for them to get them out of it.
Ok. But what do parents want to know that the kids might not necessarily think about right off the bat? Parents are generally more concerned with the longer term ramifications of what could happen as a result of conviction.
Firstly, a conviction for underage drinking does NOT create a criminal record that can be searched and found. Underage drinking is a summary offense. A ticket. When it is disposed of at the district court level it does not show up on a criminal record search. There is no arrest. No fingerprints. But the conviction does stay on record at the district court where it lies dormant…or does it?
While not a “reportable” criminal conviction, it is still a summary conviction. This is important to know because for many jobs and vocations like teaching, nursing, and professions that require the handling of client money and the like, job and school applications will ask about about even summary convictions. For this reason, it is important to know that a summary conviction for underage drinking may be expunged once the young person reached the age of 21 if that person remains crime free. Once an expungement is granted, the expunged conviction is not required to be revealed to anyone for any reason.
These are the residual effects of an underage drinking conviction. For information on what underage drinking is, and how it can be fought in West Chester, read the underage drinking section on this site.