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Can and should I appeal a case where I was caught drinking in a college dorm and was not given a court hearing?

Indiana, PA |

The situation is a citation for consumption, possession, purchasing of alcohol. I am a 19 college student who has never been in any sort of legal trouble or school trouble before. I was hanging out with my roommate and her new friends in their college dorm and they left the two of us in the room to smoke outside and the cops knocked on the door. I was breathilized and I am facing a 439$ fine along with a 90 suspended license. I did not take it to court because the reseptionist at the magistrate confused me and had me sign the mail-in part of my citation when I wanted to take it to court. So she gave me my fine and told me about the suspended license without any talking to a judge. And the reason I went to the magistrate was because there was no fine on my citation. What are my options?

Attorney Answers 3


  1. If your 'guilty plea' was within the last ten days, you should try to withdraw the guilty plea by telling the District Justice office you want to plead not guilty. Some offices will let you; some will not.

    If that does not work, or if it is outside of ten days, you have 30 days from the date of conviction to file an appeal at the Clerk of Courts Office in the County Courthouse. That wlll get you a new hearing date at the Courthouse. There should be 'diversionary programs' that allow you to avoid a conviction and the license suspension.

    If neither of those work, remember that once your supervision is over and your fines and costs are paid - you can have that underage consumption removed from your criminal history by filing for an expungement.


  2. The paying of the fine amounts to a guilty pleas. You have 30 days to file an appeal in the Court of Common Pleas. If 30 days have already gone by, you can file a late appeal and ask the Ct. to here the appeal. It is important that you hire an attorney to protect your rights.


  3. You need to make your decision soon, because if it is past 30 days it is too late. I do not see any reason not to withdraw the plea and contest it.

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