Pennsylvania law does not permit any person under the age of 21 to consume, purchase or possess alcohol. There are no exceptions to this restriction.
Because criminal charges can have a serious negative impact on employment, college and other aspects of a young person’s life, it is important to know how long an underaged drinking charge remains on your record.
How long an underage drinking charge stays on your record
If you receive a conviction for underage drinking, it will remain on your record for a minimum of five years. Additionally, the state will suspend your driver’s license for 90 days for a first offense and one year for a second offense. If the court dismisses your charges or the prosecutor withdraws them, they may still appear in background searches unless you successfully petition to expunge your record.
Underage drinking charge expungement
Two subsections of the 9122 Crimes Code allow for the expungement of conviction and non-conviction data from your record. To obtain an expungement, you must make a petition to the court. If you plead guilty or the court convicts you of an underage drinking charge, you must first complete all the terms of your sentence and reach the age of 21 before you will be eligible to petition for an expungement.
Not everyone eligible will get their records expunged. In some cases, the prosecutor may challenge an expungement. If this happens the court will review your case and determine whether or not to grant the expungement. Because each county may handle these cases differently, it can be useful to have legal representation when petitioning for expungement.