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Understanding summary violations in Pennsylvania

In addition to misdemeanor and felony charges, Pennsylvania also has a category of offenses known as "summary offenses." These are less serious criminal offenses. However, a conviction could still mean spending up to 90 days in jail and paying a $300 fine.

For college students, having to miss a significant amount of class time can have all types of negative repercussions. It can cause your grades to slip, or it could even mean having to stay in school longer in order to graduate. That can present a large financial burden to you or your parents.

Some examples of summary offenses include:

  • Underage drinking
  • Public drunkenness and open container violations
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Retail theft
  • Using a False ID
  • Public Urination
  • Violations of local ordinances

When you receive a summary offense, the officer will give you a paper citation, much like a traffic ticket. It will likely have a court date on it and other information about your charges.

These Are Still Serious Offenses. Seek Legal Advice Soon.

Even if the punishments may not be as severe as other misdemeanor charges, any criminal offense is always serious, and you need to treat it that way. A conviction on your record could still come back to haunt you after you graduate, making it harder to find work or an apartment.

Just like with any other misdemeanor or felony charge, you need to assert your rights and speak to a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Your lawyer will be able to evaluate the charges and the strength of the prosecution's case against you. Your lawyer can help you find a favorable resolution, which may involve reducing or dismissing the charges. It may then be possible to later expunge the arrest and conviction from your record.

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