Drinking is a common part of college culture. It can be tempting to share a drink with friends at sporting events or social gatherings. But drinking when you’re under the legal age of 21 can have serious consequences, some of which go beyond the court room.
Penalties for underage drinking
First-time offenders may have the option of attending a diversion program. This is usually an alternative to paying steep fees. However, Pennsylvania considers underage drinking a summary offense. This means that repeated offenses carry even harsher penalties. After your first charge, you may face penalties including fines of up to $1,000, loss of driving privileges and even jail time.
When you’re in college, your time and money should go towards your education, not towards having to deal with the penalties of a poor decision. But there are additional consequences to underage drinking that can have a long-lasting impact on your future.
Underage drinking can have harmful effects on your learning experience. These effects include:
- Missing classes
- Falling behind
- Performing poorly on assignments and exams
- Receiving lower grades
Receiving a citation for underage drinking can have more direct consequences. Many Pennsylvania universities take underage drinking seriously. Students caught underage drinking must contend with university sanctions as well as government penalties.
Depending on your university, an underage drinking citation may result in loss of scholarships, leadership positions, housing contracts or team privileges. Your school may even require you to attend additional counseling.
Although an underage drinking citation is not likely to show up on background checks, it could still prevent you from getting a job.
Repeated underage drinking charges can have a negative impact on your academic-related opportunities. Because of this, you might miss out on chances to develop the skills necessary for your future career path. An underage drinking citation can set you back and make it more difficult for you to gain the experience you need for life after college.
Seek legal assistance after an underage drinking charge
College is a time to broaden your horizons and try new things. But mistakes can happen. If you received an underage drinking citation, you may be feeling scared and confused. An attorney can help you understand your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.