Q: Is an underage correct? So I was at a frisbee tournament in Johnstown, PA and we had to get a hotel to stay overnight. The team was separated so that 21 year olds stayed with each other and everyone under stayed together. While watching the Penguins game, one of the 21 year olds came over to our room and asked me to take them to get beer because they had drank and didn’t want to drive. So I did, they put their beer in the trunk, then an undercover cop followed us back to the hotel from the beer store. The cop stopped me and charged me with an underage and confiscated my teammates’ beer. I hadn’t had anything to drink so I didn’t think that was the correct charge. I honestly didn’t know that I couldn’t transport alcohol, but he told me that was illegal. He also said I should have let my friends drive drunk, Soooooo.

A: The statute you are charged with, 6308, applies to consumption, possession and transportation. You are probably guilty of transportation. There is a driver’s license suspension if you are found guilty. You should review the case with an attorney, to determine if you have a defense, such as an illegal stop of the vehicle. If there a probable cause defense available to you, the attorney can advise whether you should pursue or not. If the defense exists, the attorney can use it to push the police for a better deal. If no defense is available to you, or if you don’t want to pursue it, the attorney can advise if a diversionary program can be made available by the district justice so you do not end up with a conviction. A diversionary program used in Allegheny County refers the minor to a course, which if successfully completed results in a dismissal.


Q: What are my odds of getting adjudication alternatives as oppose to underage drinking charge? I have a lawyer. First off, I’m 19 years old. A few months back my friends and I had a party at my apartment. My boyfriend who is of age bought us alcohol and our party turned wild and one girl was sent to the hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning . The police came and searched my apartment and my boyfriend’s car without our consent, is that legal? Nothing was found when search , no Breathalyzers given to the rest of but the girl that was underage and went to the hospital had a BAC of 0.18. Long story short now there is an arrest warrant out for me and I had no prior notification from the police but this. My parents hired an attorney. This is a first time offense. I’m a college student and going places in life and I don’t want this one mistake on my record. With an attorney what charges facing? My hearing is

A: Usually, minors are cited with the summary offense of Purchase, Consumption, Possession or Transportation of Alcohol and they are cited with a citation or arrested by mail, or summons. Arrest warrants are generally not issued. If you have a “warrant” for your arrest, it sounds as if you may have been charged with a misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to minors under § 6310.1,   “Selling or furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to minors”. I am not sure how this can be if you are a minor as well. In either case, if charged with a summary or misdemeanor, you cannot have a conviction as it will impact your life. In addition, there are driver’s license suspensions that can be imposed by PennDOT once you are convicted. Generally, there will be an alternative program for you as a first offender which will let you avoid a conviction. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you on how to obtain these types of results. Do not do it without counsel. The various searches you describe may or may not be legal and you should have your attorney look at the facts closely as well.

Can my son be charged with underage drinking just for being at a party?

Q. Advise is needed for an Under Age Drinking citation. My teenage son blew .0 on the Breathalyzer. He was at an underage party . The police were called (we believe by other teens that were asked to leave ) . When the police arrived another teen was seen in the door way and was unresponsive so the police entered the home . All of the teens were given Breathalyzer testing. My son blew a .0 (dad was present) and was released to his father. At that time the police indicated that he would not be cited. He just received a citation & is charged with consuming alcoholic beverages. Should we contact the police before his hearing, is it possible that the citation was issued in error? Can we get a copy of his Breathalyzer test? Can he still be charged with underage drinking if he blew .0? Can he be charged with something else since he was at the party even though he wasn’t drinking?

A: In order for him to be guilty, there must be more evidence than him just being present at the party. The statute reads, purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of alcohol. If he is guilty of any of these, he can be cited and convicted. There needs to be police or other witnesses testify that your son purchased, transported, consumed or possessed the alcohol or made it available as it seems consumption is out due to his preliminary breath test. I don’t know all the facts here and you should review them with an attorney. If there is evidence that he physically possessed or purchased the alcohol or hosted or organized a drinking party, he may be convicted. If your attorney thinks there is evidence against him and having a hearing is risky, he may be eligible for a first time offender’s program. Bear in mind, these offenses carry driver’s license suspensions if you are found guilty.