Underage Drinking

The penalties that attach to a conviction for underage drinking include license suspension, fines, and community service. If arrested for underage drunk driving, the penalties can be severe, including a lengthy suspension of your driver’s license. Additionally, an underage drinker can face multiple charges depending on the circumstances of his or her arrest. Under criminal code, sections 18 Pa. C.S. § 630818 Pa. C.S. § 6307, and 18 Pa. C.S. § 6310.4, there are penalties that attach to possessing alcohol as a minor, to obtaining alcohol with a fake ID, and to underage DUI. As a result, an underage person could find themselves facing multiple charges and fines for a single underage drinking offense. At the law office of attorneys Cro & Rue we help parents and their children in underage drinking cases. Depending on the circumstances of your case and your driving or criminal record, it may be possible to reduce the charges or sentence against you.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

The penalties for underage drinking vary, depending on the circumstances of your arrest. In general, however, the following penalties apply to underage drinking:

  • Possessing or transporting alcohol: a fine of not more than $500; a 90 suspension of your driver’s license for your first offense; a one year suspension for your second offense; and a 2 year suspension for any offenses thereafter. The parents of the underage person will be notified by the police.
  • Using a Fake ID to Obtain Alcohol: a fine of not more than $500; a 90 suspension of your driver’s license for your first offense; a one year suspension for your second offense; and a 2 year suspension for any offenses thereafter.
  • Underage DUI: if you are under the age of 18, a juvenile complaint will be filed against you and your parents will be notified of your arrest. You could be required to pay a fine, sent to juvenile lock up, and placed on probation.

If you are over 18, you may be ordered to attend a Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program. If you don’t qualify for the program, you will be sentenced to a minimum of 48 hours and up to 6 months in jail. Additionally, you face a mandatory six month suspension of your driver’s license. You will be fined between $500 and $5,000 and required to perform up to 150 hours of community service.

For those arrested a second, third, or fourth time for underage DUI, all of the penalties increase.

Underage Drinking and Pennsylvania Law

A minor can be charged and prosecuted for underage drinking even if he or she hasn’t actually consumed any alcohol. If the police catch a minor in possession of alcohol or buying alcohol, he or she can be charged with underage drinking even though no alcohol was consumed. Once charged and convicted, a mandatory 90 day license suspension is applied for first time convictions. A second conviction will result in a year-long suspension while a third conviction carries a 2 year license suspension.

If we are brought into an underage drinking case early in the process we may be able to prevent the suspension of a minor’s license and other penalties. Here, it is essential to try and resolve a case before Penn Dot learns of a minor’s underage violation. If you have already been convicted for underage drinking, you may still qualify for a limited license or have grounds for filing an appeal.

Avoiding additional Legal Complications in Underage Drinking Cases

In most cases involving underage drinking, the court is interested in giving a young person a second change rather than in punishing them per se. Our attorneys council and prepare young people before they appear in court. We explain what you need to do to convince the court you are ready to act responsibly and can, in many cases, reduce the sentence against you. If you drive to school or work and are worried about the length of your license suspension, we may be able to work with court in shortening or avoiding the suspension of your license altogether.

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