As of December 24, 2012, the penalties for underage drinking and public drunkenness in Pennsylvania will increase significantly. On October 25, 2012, Governor Corbett signed into law Act No. 205, increasing the fines for the above offenses. Prior to the Governor signing the Act, if you were convicted of underage drinking in a Pennsylvania Magisterial District Court, you were subject to a $300 fine, responsible for paying court costs and suffered a 90 day driver's license suspension. If you were convicted for a second or subsequent time, the fine would increase to $500 and the license suspension was raised to a full year.
The above fines had not been changed since 1972 and the new law increases the maximum fines for underage drinking and public drunkenness to $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for the second and each subsequent offense. This law not only applies to individuals drunk in public and intoxicated underage persons, but also to those individuals under the age of 21 that possess, transport or attempt to purchase alcohol.
With regard to the purpose of the legislation, Senator Jake Corman stated, "The intent of this piece of legislation was to provide a deterrent so that individuals arrested for alcohol-related offenses will make better decisions the next time around. Additionally, if higher fines are chosen, the municipality and tax payers will see relief in the cost they bear, this time paid by the actual violator, rather than through increased property taxes." Therefore, the cost of alcohol related arrests has risen and it is more important than ever to seek capable legal guidance if you or a family member has been cited with one of these offenses. For legal advice regarding Underage Drinking or any alcohol related matter, contact my Pittsburgh law office, Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates.