Pennsylvania takes alcohol-related offenses seriously. Enforcement is particularly aggressive in areas with a lot of students who attend schools such as Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, and Robert Morris University. Many defendants tend to dismiss alcohol-related charges as a minor nuisance. However, incarceration, heavy fines, loss of driving privileges, and a criminal record can result from conviction of any criminal offense. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help to minimize the negative effects of alcohol-related criminal charges and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
A person can be guilty of a summary offense merely for appearing in a public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his vicinity. A first offense is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine.
Penalty 1st Offense
It is illegal to drink, possess, transport, or purchase alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania if you are under 21. Minors caught with alcohol face up to 90 days in jail and a $300 fine for a first offense and a $500 fine for subsequent offenses. In addition to the criminal penalties, PennDOT will suspend your driver's license for 90 days for a first offense, one year for a second offense, and two years for third or subsequent offenses.
Remember, it is not necessary that minors actually consume alcohol to be charged and convicted of an alcohol-related criminal offense. It is enough that minors are merely in possession of an alcoholic beverage. Don't assume that you will avoid a conviction just because the police did not take a breath or blood sample to measure blood alcohol content.
Furnishing Alcohol to Minors
Underage drinking does not only concern minors. It is a third degree misdemeanor for an adult to intentionally and knowingly sell, purchase or provide alcoholic beverages to someone under the age of 21. Defendants face up to a year and jail and fines ranging from $1,000-$2,000.
It's also illegal in Pennsylvania to purchase alcohol with a fake ID. Like underage drinking, defendants face up to 90 days in jail, a $300 fine and a 90 day driver's license suspension for a first offense. Penalties increase to a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail, a $300 fine and a 1-year driver's license suspension for subsequent offenses.
Making or selling a fake ID is even more serious. For a first offense, defendants face up to two years in jail and a $1,000 to $5,000 fine. For a second offense, the fine increases to $2,500 - $5,000.
Contact a Pittsburgh Alcohol Related Offense Lawyer
If you have been charged with an alcohol-related offense, make sure you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Give us a call at 412-281-9906 or at our toll-free number 1-855-VARI-LAW. Your lawyer will help you to protect your rights and help you to reach a favorable resolution that minimizes potential jail time, fines, and license suspensions. Do not minimize the gravity of the charges against you. Even minor offenses will go on your criminal record.