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Possible penalties Pennsylvania college students could face for underage drinking

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2021 | criminal law | 1 comment

For many people, their university years are key for preparing for the future. When your college-age child faces charges for alcohol consumption, you may worry that the consequences will present a roadblock to his or her success.

As the parent of a college student, here is what you need to know about the penalties for underage drinking in Pennsylvania.

What are the criminal penalties for underage drinking?

Courts usually impose fines for underage consumption, and the amount will vary based on whether you child has any prior convictions. For first-time offenders, the fine will not exceed $500 but could rise to $1000 if they have had previous infractions.

Though convictions rarely result in jail time, it is possible that your child could face incarceration for up to 90 days regardless of the number of past violations.

Though this charge is a summary offense, not a misdemeanor or felony, it might still appear on a background check. First-time offenders may be able to participate in a diversionary program to avoid a conviction and keep the charge off their record.

How do colleges penalize underage drinking?

Every college and university has its own set of policies regarding alcohol consumption on- and off-campus. Though some schools will not pursue consequences, others might rescind scholarships, impose academic probation or seek expulsion. A careful review of your child’s school code of conduct is advised.

Though any arrest could jeopardize your child’s future, he or she may have options to avoid the worst of the outcomes. A legal advocate can help you understand what alternatives are available and help to possible mitigate the penalties today and in the future.