The consequences of underage drinking in Pennsylvania

| Dec 12, 2019 | Alcohol-related Charges |

It is no secret that alcohol is present on college campuses in Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S. Nor should it come as a surprise that alcohol-containing beverages may end up in the hands of underage students. For students under the legal drinking age, however, consuming alcoholic drinks could lead to criminal charges with potentially serious repercussions.

According to Pennsylvania state law, it is prohibited for those under the age of 21-years-old to attempt to buy, purchase, possess or consume malt, liquor or brewed beverages. Additionally, those under the legal drinking age cannot knowingly and purposely transport alcohol-containing beverages.

Underage drinking in the state of Pennsylvania is a summary offense. If convicted of this crime, students may face a maximum fine of $500. They may be ordered to pay up to $1,000 for the second and any subsequent violations. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in addition to fines, underage students may be ordered to pay any associated court fees, as well as be sentenced to a 90-day driver’s license suspension for their first offense. The suspension is extended to one-year for the second offense and two years for the third or any ensuing violations.

The state of Pennsylvania has a Zero Tolerance Law with regards to underage drinking and driving. Therefore, underage students found behind the wheel with a blood alcohol content level of 0.02% or greater may face additional serious penalties. This includes fines ranging from $500 to $5,000, a jail sentence of 48-hours to six months, suspension of their driving privileges for between 12- and 18-months, or a combination of these.