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For decades now, the age at which you are generally permitted to possess and consume alcohol anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania has been 21. If you haven’t noticed, this means that there are many cases where individuals under that age might be tempted to consume alcohol with their ‘of age’ friends. A perfect example of this is on a university campus. If you look at the make up of the average student body, roughly half of the individuals will be old enough to drink alcohol, while the rest are still determined by the law to be too young.
If you are caught holding alcohol at a party on campus when you are under 21 years of age, you can be cited by the police as being in possession of alcohol when you are underage. This is a serious offense. As such, you will not want to take it lightly.
Why Is This Important?
You never want any citation to be on your record. It is difficult to make such items go away. It is important for you to know that the state of Pennsylvania is now cracking down in a big way on underage drinking. This includes the charge of possession of alcohol. One of their primary targets involve campus locations, and a heavy focus is at Penn State and Temple University. You will find that law enforcement officials are taking their responsibility more seriously in terms of citing underage drinkers.
Remember that being in possession of alcohol is not always the same as drinking alcohol. The law states that you can be cited even just for holding a can of beer, even if you are not drinking. This is a gray area, but a guilty verdict can still cost you a lot of money in fines. You may also have your driver’s license suspended as a result of this conviction. This is why you really need to start by retaining the services of a professional defense attorney who understands the law and will fight for your legal rights. If at all possible, you want the charge vacated. Barring that, you will be glad to have an attorney on your side who will work hard to get the charges reduced if at all possible.
Some Information About Underage Possession of Alcohol
If you are still not clear about this law, let us begin by reminding you that the state of Pennsylvania has been very clear that individuals under the age of 21 may not buy or even attempt to buy any alcoholic beverage. It does not matter where in the state this purchase is alleged to have taken place. In addition, you may not consume alcohol if you are under the age of 21. Again, it does not matter where the drinking takes place or who actually bought the alcohol in the first place.
Beyond this, it is also illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to even be in the possession of alcohol. If you are under the age of 21, you are not even allowed to transport knowingly or intentionally. As you can now tell, there are quite a few different ways you can be charged with an alcohol-related crime if you are under the age of 21. You will also be interested to know that state statutes define alcohol as being any beverage that contains 0.50 percent or more of alcohol when measured by volume. Beer and wine are included in this definition.
Contact a Lawyer
Being found guilty of possession of alcohol has some serious consequences. If you are or your child is faced with this charge, it is important to have our office retained right away. We will mount a vigorous defense on your behalf. There are options that you have to explore. We will go over those with you and propose the best possible defense strategy for you given your situation.