Pittsburgh No. 1 City to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day in Pittsburgh is a fun time. The city boasts the second-highest number of Irish in the country (at 13.5 percent, it’s just behind Boston). With 20,000 people participating in the annual parade, as well as a large number of bars around town, a great time is had by all. Because of this, it was recently ranked as the top city for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.
Unfortunately, too much fun can lead to legal issues if you’re irresponsible. Excess alcohol consumption can cause people to act recklessly. They can become a danger to themselves and others.
Types of Alcohol Crimes in Pittsburgh
With all of the festivities in Pittsburgh around St. Patrick’s Day, it can be hard to control the level of fun. However, when fun becomes criminal, you may face an alcohol-related criminal charge. Some common alcohol-related crimes include:
Because 40 percent of traffic deaths are caused by alcohol, driving under the influence (DUI) is considered a serious crime. In Pennsylvania, you are considered intoxicated if your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .08 percent.
Depending on your BAC and number of previous offenses, you could face misdemeanor charges, thousands of dollars in fines, license suspension and jail time. You may also be forced to use an ignition interlock system in order to drive.
DUI penalties significantly increase for each subsequent offense. It’s not uncommon for a DUI charge to cost tens of thousands of dollars in fines and other penalties.
Open Container Laws
Pennsylvania is strict when it comes to carrying alcohol in a moving vehicle. No person inside the vehicle is allowed to be in possession of an open container of alcohol.
It’s also illegal to have alcohol next to you – opened or not – in the car. This may come as a surprise to the passengers who keep their alcohol on their lap as they are driven home. A violation of the open container law is considered a summary offense in Pennsylvania. This is basically a minor infraction, but you can still be fined.
Open container laws may also apply in school areas, residential neighborhoods, parking lots and sidewalks. These laws are in place to prevent disorderly conduct caused by alcohol use.
Being under the influence of alcohol in public is called public intoxication. This law protects those who may be disturbed by drunk people, who often lack judgment and are unable to control themselves. The law provides that you can be charged with this crime if you appear to be drunk, even though you may not be. However, there are various defenses to help you if you do face charges.
Minor In Possession
Those under age 21 are not allowed to buy or drink alcohol in Pennsylvania. In addition, minors may not serve alcohol to others as part of their job duties. Violation of this law is subject to a fine of up to $500.
Get Legal Help
While there’s no law saying you can’t party and have fun on St. Patrick’s Day, the laws don’t protect you if you decide to drink too much alcohol.
If you are arrested and charged with an alcohol-related crime, it’s a good idea to contact a defense attorney right away. A skilled Pittsburgh alcohol crimes lawyer knows various defenses to protect your legal rights. Each case is different, and as such, they understand the various elements involved. It’s possible to get any charges against you significantly reduced or even dropped altogether.
Alcohol crimes can be severe in nature, especially if a DUI is involved. For a favorable outcome, it’s best to have a legal professional on your side. Get the help you need by calling a Pittsburgh criminal defense lawyer from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146.