Minor in Possession
Any criminal charge against a minor is a cause for serious concern. Among the other penalties, their futures can be drastically affected by the outcome of their legal battle, including consequences like the loss of scholarships, educational opportunities, and employment. For a minor accused of possessing alcohol, this seemingly insignificant issue can have a major impact for years to come.
With so much at stake, you need to ensure that an experienced attorney is on your side. A lawyer who is familiar with Pennsylvania’s criminal laws can proactively defend you or your loved one during this challenging situation. The stress of facing the confusing legal process can be minimized by having a skilled legal counselor that you can turn trust.
West Chester Minor in Possession Attorney
The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices have represented dozens of juveniles facing criminal charges across Pennsylvania, including those charged with possessing alcohol. We know that you’re in for a tough fight and we know how much is at stake. An aggressive defense is imperative when defending your future, and we provide a determined approach to every case.
Call us today at (610) 719-3200 to schedule your free consultation. We can analyze your unique situation and advice you on the best way to proceed. There may be choices available that you’re not aware of, or we may be able to begin the crucial steps in building your defense. Don’t hesitate to get started on the right path to protecting your future.
The Exemptions for Possessing or Consuming Alcohol in Pennsylvania
The legal drinking age across America is 21, and those under this age are not legally able to possess or consume any kind of alcohol and they cannot enter certain establishments that serve alcoholic beverages. However, Penn. Stat. & Con. Stats. Section 4-493 outlines that there are several exceptions to this rule, given certain circumstances. These exemptions include:
- Employment in establishments such as restaurants, depending on their age
- Performing arts in bars or other establishments
- Supervised social gatherings can take place at establishments that sell alcohol under certain conditions
- A minor may not be prosecuted for alcohol consumption if law enforcement became aware of the violation through the minor calling for medical aid for themselves or another person under certain conditions
- A minor older than 18 can attempt to purchase alcohol if employed by the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement and is performing duties such as compliance checks
It is important to note the emergency exception, as this can be an issue in certain situations such as parties. If a person is suffering from alcohol poisoning or another medical emergency, a minor should not hesitate to call for help based on illegal alcohol consumption, as they cannot be penalized for consuming alcohol if the police are made aware of the fact as a result of calling for medical aid.
Penalties for Consuming of Possessing Alcohol in Pennsylvania
There are several different charges associated with minor possessing and consuming alcohol, and they all carry serious consequences. For any of these offenses, the accused may face a suspension of their driving privileges as well. These charges are referred to as “summary offense”, meaning that a jury will not decide whether the accused is guilty. A judge will rule on the case and determine the sentencing alone. This makes is extremely important to have a skilled attorney present a strong case in your defense.
If a minor is accused of possessing alcohol, they face a potential sentence of up to $500 for the first offense and up to $1000 for subsequent offenses. In the event that a minor misrepresent their age while attempting to purchase alcohol, they can also face a fine of up to $500.
Rather than face a heavy fine and a mark on their criminal record, an offender may be able to participate in an adjudication program. This may be in the form of an alcohol treatment program or other situation, but upon successfully completing it, the offender will be cleared of the alternative penalties. A lawyer can help seek out this alternative for you.
Hiring a Lawyer to Defend a Minor from a Possession Charge in Pennsylvania
A criminal charge against a minor stands to block their progress during crucial years, as they seek out educational and career opportunities. Don’t let an offense like possessing alcohol stand in between you and your potential. Call Ciccarelli Law Offices today at (610) 719-3200 to schedule your free consultation without experienced attorneys. We can start planning a defensive strategy for your situation and take the first steps to protecting your future.