In one of the largest busts of it's kind in the history of the police department, the Lansdale Borough police raided an underage drinking party. The scene was reportedly chaotic, as the children fled like ants from water.
Not all escaped, however. The police detained 34 individuals and cited them for underage drinking. They also published their names in the local paper, specifically the Philadelphia Inquirer. The streets are safe once again.
Underage drinking, if you are one of the lucky few to be caught, actually carries some pretty stiff penalties. The statute calls for 0-60 days in jail, the imposition of which would be rare, a $300 fine, and a license suspension for 90 days. The last part is the real killer, as you do not even have to be driving to lose your license.
The crime itself is also defined pretty broadly. It includes attempts to purchase, actual purchases, consuming, possessing, and knowingly or intentionally transporting any liquor or malt or brewed beverage.
Repeat offenders can get up to a $500 fine and 0-90 days in jail, plus a one year license suspension for a second offense and two year license suspension for a third offense. And it gets worse.
If you are carrying a fake ID, that's another problem, punishable by $300 and 90 days of license suspension as well. If you pretend to be over 21 in order to buy your own alcohol? Add another $300-$2500 and up to one year in jail.
Providing alcohol to minors? $1000 - $2500 fine and up to one year in jail.
If the underage drinker really gets lucky in court, the judge could offer an alternative prosecution program, which allows the offender to compete an alcohol education class or community service instead of being prosecuted and having an alcohol offense on their record.
For the Lansdale 34, we can only hope for such benevolence. As it stands, those amongst them who were over 18 but under 21 now have had their names publicized, like a scarlet letter branded to their online persona.
May the Court have mercy on their souls.
- Find a Philadelphia DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Samuel Brandt Arrested for Underage DUI (FindLaw's Philadelphia DUI Blog)
- Kid Rear-Ends Trailer While High, Runs From Tigers? (FindLaw's Philadelphia DUI Blog)
- An Alternative Solution to Ignition Interlock: Everyone Has One (FindLaw's Philadelphia DUI Blog)