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Hammer O'Justice
Hammer O'Justice, Criminal Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 4491
Experience:  Almost 12 years of legal experience, primarily in criminal law
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I live in Philadelphia Pa and received a citation

Customer Question

I live in Philadelphia Pa and received a citation from a "non-traffic statutory summary offenses." My charges were underage drinking and urination. My citation lists a court date but I don't know what to do to prepare for that. Do you think this will be easily expunged, considering this is my first (and definitely only) charge? Will this give me a criminal record? or impact my being able to get a job? Or make my car insurance sky rocket? I'm freaking out.

Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Hammer O'Justice replied 3 years ago.

Being a minor in possession of alcohol is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a 90-day suspension of your driver's license. A summary offense cannot be expunged until you have gone 5 years without an arrest after conviction. So it is in your best interests to try to resolve it short of a guilty plea. The underage drinking law also provides for an alternative outcome:

(c) Preadjudication disposition.--

(1) When a person is charged with violating subsection (a), the magisterial district judge may admit the offender to the adjudication alternative as authorized in 42 Pa.C.S. § 1520 (relating to adjudication alternative program) or any other preadjudication disposition if the offender has not previously received a preadjudication disposition for violating subsection (a).

A preadjudication disposition means your case is resolved before a conviction goes on your record. Basically, the court will require that you do certain things (complete an alcohol class, community service, and/or a fine, or similar requirements), and if you do so the charge will be dismissed. Then you won't get a conviction or a license suspension. When you go to court, you can ask for this kind of outcome from the prosecutor or court. Or you can take a lawyer with you to negotiate this outcome on your behalf. It is up to you.