Recently, I (attarney Ryan McAllister) represented a young college student at one of the Magisterial District Courts in Berks County. My client was issued an underage drinking citation under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6308 for allegedly consuming and / or possessing alcohol. The incident involved a small group of college students who were drinking in an university dormitory. Although an underage drinking citation is relatively minor charge, anyone in college should be concerned about the effect of having any type of conviction on his or her record. Additionally, under Pennsylvania law, a conviction for underage drinking under 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6308 typically carries over $400.00 in fines and court costs, as well as a 3 month driver’s license suspension for a first offense.
My client and I showed up at court, and I initially tried to negotiate deal on behalf of my client. The officers from the prosecuting university police department, however, were not willing to drop the charge against my client in exchange for community service. Therefore, after discussing the situation with my client, the decision was made to fight the case. Despite having 4 different witnesses testify against my client, the prosecuting officer was not able to prove my client guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Critically, the prosecuting officer neglected to even prove that my client was under 21 years old. After I made my closing argument to the Magisterial District Judge, my client was found “not guilty”.
My client was able to walk out of court with no fines, no court costs, and, most importantly, no conviction on her record. After the summary trial, I filed an “Expungement Petition” on behalf of my client to clear any trace of the issuance of the citation itself from her record.
If you are charged with underage drinking, 18 Pa.C.S.A. 6308, please contact my office to setup a complimentary consultation. I would be happy to discuss the case in more detail. Many times, college students and / or their parents don’t think an attarney is necessary in this type of case. Having a skilled and experienced attarney involved, though, can often make all the difference in the world.