Every state in the United States has the legal drinking age set at 21 years of age. Anyone who is under the age of 21 who consumes alcohol is engaging in “underage drinking.” However, every state varies in its specific underage drinking laws and related penalties. For example, some states permit underage drinking if the underage individual is on private property or has parental consent. Pennsylvania, however, has some of the strictest underage drinking laws in the country with very limited exceptions. The following is an overview of underage drinking laws in Pennsylvania.
Underage consumption of alcohol: The only circumstances under which Pennsylvania excuses the underage consumption of alcohol is when one underage drinker reports the need for medical attention to another underage drinker. Pennsylvania does have other exceptions, such as parental consent, religious purposes, work purposes, or when on private property or in a private residence.
Underage possession of alcohol: All purchase or possession of alcohol is prohibited, even with parental permission. An underage individual may also be charged for mere constructive possession of alcohol, which means they may not be holding any alcohol or have consumed any alcohol, but the person is merely in the presence of alcohol. This often applies to allow police to issue citations to underage individuals at parties where alcohol is being consumed without evidence that individual was actually drinking. Finally, it is illegal for any adult over age 21 to furnish or sell alcohol to people under 21, even if the individual is their own child.
False Identification: It is against the law for an underage individual to possess a fake ID and for anyone to manufacture, sell, or alter an ID.
Driving under the influence: Pennsylvania has a “Zero Tolerance” law for underage individuals and DUI. You may be arrested and charged with DUI if you are under 21 and have any measurable alcohol content in your system.
As you can see, the underage drinking laws in Pennsylvania are extremely strict and convictions of these offenses carry fines up to $1,000 for a first offense. If you have been arrested for or charged with any underage drinking offenses, you should contact The Zeiger Firm at 215.546.0340 for help. Brian Zeiger is an experienced Philadelphia DUI attorney who will protect your rights and provide you with a rigorous defense.