College freshmen often consider parties to be the highlight of school. Indeed, for those just getting acquainted with collegiate life, it may seem like no big deal to partake in alcohol when all your peers are drinking. As many underage individuals learn every year, though, there are consequences to alcohol consumption, and the legal ramifications should not be taken lightly.

According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly § 6308, underage drinking will result in a citation if an offender is caught by law enforcement. Still, you might wonder what happens after receiving a citation. There are a few things every parent and young person should know about underage drinking.

It is a summary offense

Luckily, underage drinking is not a felony or even a misdemeanor charge. Instead, it is classified as a summary offense. This means that it is the equivalent of a traffic ticket, and it is considered the lowest possible offense. Accordingly, the consequences are often limited to a fine the offender must pay, but sometimes, a conviction results in a more severe sentence.

You may lose driving privileges

A fine is not the only punishment underage drinking may incur. In some cases, a conviction will also lead to the defendant’s driving privileges being revoked. Your driver’s license could be suspended for up to 90 days if you are convicted of underage drinking, but much like a traffic ticket, you can go to court and dispute an underage drinking citation to avoid this.

You could be incarcerated

It may sound severe that somebody would be incarcerated for an underage drinking offense, but it is not impossible. The law dictates that a first offense warrants up to 90 days in jail, but it would be up to the discretion of the court whether such a sentence should be applied. Enlisting help from a legal representative can help you or your child avoid consequences such as these and get back on track.