Q: What is the best course of action I could take to either have dismissed, or reduce the penalties of public intoxication charges? I am a 20 year old student at Penn State. I was riding the bus home when the driver made me get off. I was visibly intoxicated but I was not disrupting the peace or being disorderly. I’m assuming she called the cops before kicking me off the bus because the second I stepped off, the police were waiting. They breathalyzed me and I blew over a .20. They had me admitted to the hospital despite the fact that I requested not to be treated because I was now within walking distance of my apartment. They told me I would receive a citation in the mail for underage drinking, but when the citation came, there were actually two: one for the underage and another for public intoxication. I feel that the public intoxication charge was not justified. Is there anything I can do to help my situation?

A:            Get a lawyer. It sounds like the public intoxication is justified as you were in public.  But, often times in PA, District Justices offer a first time offenders program, or classes, for first time offenders. This way you will avoid having a conviction and a driver’s licenses suspension. There is a driver’s license suspension that PenDOT will issue if you are convicted of the underage. The lawyer will know how to get you out of this with minimal damage. There may be options to pleading guilty and I wouldn’t try this on your own.

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