Last week I represented a Kutztown University Student charged with Underage Drinking, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6308(a), and Public Drunkeness, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 5505, both summary offenses. Although these citations only carry fines with no real risk of jail time, a conviction for Underage Drinking will result in a PennDOT license suspension of 90 days for a first offense. My client was in a position where he could not afford to lose his license.
Unfortunately, there was no disputing the fact that my client was under the age of 21 and drinking / intoxicated. Therefore, I explained to my client that the best bet would be to work out some type of plea with the officer.
Therefore, on the day of the trial, I approached the police officer who had issued the citations to my client. I explained my client’s situation to the officer, and I also showed the officer some documentation to demonstrate that my client had attended some counseling sessions since the Underage Drinking incident had taken place. Although there was little to no actual legal defense to the citations that were issued to my client, the officer was willing to amend the Underage Drinking citation to a local Kutztown Borough Ordinance, which carries no license suspension from PennDOT.
Additionally, the Magisterial District Judge allowed my client, the officer, and me to make some comments prior to determining the amounts of the fines in the case. I was able to speak to my client’s volunteer efforts as well as his goals for the future, and the officer was able to speak to the fact that my client was cooperative throughout the incident. As a result, the Magisterial District Judge gave my client a reduced fine, easily saving him several hundred dollars.
In the end, my client was very happy to have avoided a license suspension.
If you or someone you know has been charged with Underage Drinking or Public Drunkenness in Berks County, Pennsylvania, or Reading, Pennsylvania, please contact my office to set-up a free consultation. I have helped many clients, including many students from local colleges, such as Alvernia College, Albright College, Penn State Berks, and Kutztown University, who have been charged with these or similar offenses. As with any case involving a college student, I am always focused on getting a result that will minimize or eliminate any potential impact on his or her future