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I got a citation for underage drinking and I have to go to court tomorrow, what should i do?

Philadelphia, PA |

They did not breathalyze me, but they did arrest me, and my other friends without reciting their rights. What should I say or do? I dont want to pay the fine, i'd rather do community service. how do I achieve that?

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Attorney answers 4


My recommendation is to get a lawyer. They do not have to breathalyze you, and most cops do not breathalyze for an Underage case because the test results are not admissible in an Underage hearing. You can readily be convicted of Underage Drinking based upon circumstantial evidence, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, difficulty standing, and odor of alcohol on breath. Cops do not need to Mirandize you simply because you were arrested. They only need to Mirandize you if they question you while you were arrested, and a violation of Miranda only results in the suppression of your statements, not a dismissal of the charges. There are many ways to win an Underage case, but you need an experienced lawyer. The arguments that you assert in your question are absolute losers in court. The way to achieve the best results is to pay an experienced defense attorney in Philly to handle the case.

Jason S. Dunkle, Esquire
D & H Law Group, P.C.
State College, PA 16801



Thank you so much for your response, I went to court today and I ended up choosing to take a 3 hour class and $200 fee for the class. Hopefully this case does not occur again.

Jason S Dunkle

Jason S Dunkle


Glad that I could help. You still have one last issue, the fact that hte dismissed charge will remain on criminal records and the license suspension notation will remain on your driving record. Dismissed charges stay on your record unless expunged. For more info, check out this page on my website for a link to the database that you can search yourself: The charge can be expunged upon dismissal from the court's records, but you cannot have the PennDOT records expunge until you turn 21. Do NOT get another Underage or the license suspension increases to 1 year. Good luck in the future.


I completely agree with Attorney Dunkle. Many more details would be needed to formulate a defense. Sometimes police may give you a citation for simply being with others who were drinking and other times there is a lot more evidence that you were imbibing.

It seems it may be a little too late to contact an attorney now, since your court date is tomorrow. Be aware that attorneys are not allowed to solicit your business in a courthouse due to ethical reasons. But, if you approach them and solicit their representation they are allowed to take your case.

Normally I wouldn't suggest finding an attorney in this way but I thought it would be helpful for you to know.

My response to your question is a generic response and should not be construed as controlling to your case. I can not effectively advise about your case without knowing all the facts. Additionally, my response does not create an attorney-client relationship. You can contact my office to schedule an appointment if you would like to have me represent you.


Follow my colleagues excellent advice.


The common assertion that "I wasn't read my rights when I was arrested and therefore my charges should be dropped" is essentially a myth. You only need to be read rights before a statement is made, and even then only the statement gets dropped-not the charges.

In terms of the offense-get an attorney. If found guilty, you will have your license suspended. The collateral consequences are severe-even though it seems like a minor charge.

Michael L. Doyle
(215) 735-5900