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Underage Drinking in PA

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Delaware County Underage Drinking Lawyer

What Happens When You or Your Child is Charged with Underage Drinking in Pennsylvania?

Even though most kids do it, underage drinking is a crime in Pennsylvania.  Most of the time, it is no big deal, unless a party gets out of hand or kids are caught drinking in a public area.

If that is the case, the police may intervene and issue a citation or take the underage drinker into custody.

Underage drinking happens a lot in a college setting, whether you are attending Villanova University, Cabrini University or Haverford and Swarthmore colleges in Delaware County, PA.

However, if you are convicted of underage drinking in PA, you face a $500 – $1,000 fine, plus court fees and a criminal history.

If this is a second or third offense, or driving under the influence is involved, penalties can be much worse.

But not every arrest leads to a conviction. It is important to speak with an experienced and aggressive criminal attorney as soon as possible.

A criminal conviction can make everything in your future more difficult, including obtaining auto insurance, getting into colleges or graduate schools, applying for financial aid and even finding housing and employment. With a basic background, anyone can see your criminal record.

There are legal options to consider to reduce underage drinking penalties, such as the first time offender program, which a Delaware County DUI Attorney can help you understand.

An experienced attorney at your side will strengthen your chances of keeping your record clean.

Attorney Saadzoi offers free consultations to anyone charged with a crime in Pennsylvania.

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When you turn 18 you are an adult, but U.S. laws make it illegal for a person under the age of 21 in Pennsylvania to drink alcohol, buy alcohol, attempt to buy alcohol, possess alcohol or knowingly transport any type of alcoholic drink with an alcohol content in excess of .50% of alcohol by volume (rubbing alcohol is excluded).

Underage drinking is a summary offense under Pennsylvania Code 18 §6308


A person convicted of underage drinking may be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $500 for the first violation and not more than $1,000 for the second and each subsequent violation. This fine does not include other court fees.

Underage Drinking Penalties in Pennsylvania:

  • First Offense: $500 fine, up to 90 days in jail;
  • Second Offense: $1,000 fine, up to 90 days in jail;
  • Third or Subsequent Offense: $1,000 fine, up to 90 days in jail.

It is important to note that even though jail time is not a normal punishment, under the law, you can be sentenced to jail. However, it is very unlikely.

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You only have ten days after being cited for underage drinking in Pennsylvania to enter a “guilty” or “not-guilty” plea and post collateral (collateral is the fee or a percentage of the fee, which is returned if you are found not-guilty at the hearing).

If you enter a “guilty” plea, you will have a criminal record.

If you enter “not-guilty” you will receive notification by mail of your assigned hearing date at the magisterial district court.

It helps to have an experienced attorney on your side fighting for you and your rights.

Is It Possible to Avoid Penalties and Fight Underage Drinking Charges?

In short, the answer is usually yes.

An experienced attorney who works in Delaware County regularly understands the different programs available and can help you fight to avoid the worst, or even get the charges dropped completely.

At Saadzoi Law, our goal is to get your charges dropped or have the charges reduced significantly so you can avoid maximum penalties.

First Time Offender Program for Underage Drinking in Delaware County

A first time offender program is a preadjudication program that allows  a first time underage drinking offender to avoid a conviction or guilty plea in the case and avoid imposition of a fine.

Each county offers different programs with different requirements.

In Delaware County, the first time offender program can be very beneficial to high school students who do not want a conviction prior to applying for college.  This program is also helpful to college students at Villanova University, Haverford College, Swarthmore College, and Cabrini University.

Delaware County Youth Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program

The program is known as the Delaware County Youth Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program.  It is an approved alternative sentencing program for persons charged with underage drinking. It is for first time offenders only.

Participants of the program are required to pay any and all restitution as a condition to participation in the Youth Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program.

Whether a person is eligible for the Youth Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program is within the sound discretion of the District Justice. An experienced and aggressive attorney can help with the process of applying for the program and help with the chances of acceptance.

This program involves community service hours that must be performed through the Delaware County Community Service Department.

Fees for the Delaware County Youth Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program

  • $40, if you are ordered to complete 49 hours of community service. 
  • $100, if you are ordered to complete 50 hours or more of community service.  

The program also involves courses that must be taken at the Delaware County Government Center or the Delaware County Emergency Services Training Center.  The cost of this class is $ 100.

If your or your child fails to complete the Youth Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program, the District Justice shall proceed with the case as provided by law.

It is important to note that if you are accepted into the preadjudication program you will avoid a criminal record and steeper fines.

An Arrest is Not a Conviction

Being charged with a crime in PA does not mean you have been convicted. You have a right to dispute the charges or try to get them dropped or dismissed completely.

If you or your child has been charged with underage drinking in Delaware County, PA, contact Attorney Saadzoi, a Pennsylvania Underage Drinking Attorney to schedule a free consultation.

She will help you explore your legal options into you or your child avoiding an underage drinking conviction.

Attorney Saadzoi can also help you manage the process of filing all the paperwork and meeting deadlines for court appearances and filings, helping you prepare for the case and know what to expect.

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Call Today for a Free Legal Case Evaluation

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