An underage drinking conviction comes with more severe punishments than you might immediately assume. A basic underage drinking charge is not considered a misdemeanor or felony in Pennsylvania, but it is what is referred to as a non-traffic summary offense. As such, it can result in the suspension of your drivers' license, stiff fines and even jail time.
Let's take a look at some of the specific penalties associated with underage drinking in Pennsylvania:
- If it's your first conviction, you could spend a maximum of three months in jail, pay fines of as much as $500 and have your drivers' license suspended for as long as three months.
- If it's your second conviction, you could also spend a maximum of three months in jail, and the fines increase to a maximum of $1,000. Your drivers' license could be suspended for as long as one year.
- If it's your third offense, the maximum jail time remains 90 days and the maximum fines remain $1,000, but you could be forced to endure a drivers' license suspension of as long as two years.
Fortunately, it's rare that defendants are sentenced to jail for an underage drinking conviction. However, it's important to keep in mind that jail time is a possibility. Perhaps the most frequent and difficult to navigate aspect of an underage drinking conviction is the drivers' license suspension. With the assistance of a skilled criminal defense lawyer, Pennsylvania underage drinking defendants can seek to reduce the chances and/or severity of punishments associated with their charges. In some cases, they may even be able to get their charges dropped or dismissed.