In Pennsylvania, drinking alcohol before your 21st birthday is a summary offense (Purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages; 18 Pa. C.S. § 6308). Although a summary offense isn’t considered to be as serious as a misdemeanor or felony, they can get expensive pretty quickly and can stay on your record for five years. While the maximum fine for most summary offenses is $300, the maximum fine for underage drinking is $500 for a first offense. If convicted of underage drinking two or more times, the maximum fine is $1000.
Although many believe that the best way to deal with an underage drinking citation is to plead guilty and accept the punishments, an experienced criminal defense attorney can work to get a better outcome for their client. The Pittsburgh-area law firm of Bickerton Law has extensive experience representing individuals cited with underage drinking throughout Western Pennsylvania.
If you have been cited with underage drinking, contact William R. Bickerton at 412-596-8124 for a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Underage Drinking in Pennsylvania
Will I go to jail for underage drinking?
Jail time is possible but extremely unlikely.
Can I be charged with underage drinking if my 21st birthday is the next day?
Can I get charged for underage drinking if a friend drank too much and I called for help?
If you 1.) seriously believe that someone is seriously ill; 2.) that they are in need of immediate medical attention; and 3.) you stay with them until help arrives, there is a safe harbor provision that prevents law enforcement from using information they gathered from you calling for help against you for underage drinking.
Will I lose my driver’s license if I am found guilty of underage drinking in Pennsylvania?
Will I get punished or suspended from school for underage drinking?
Unfortunately, the answer here is “it depends.” Under certain circumstances, the school or college you attend may have separate consequences for breaking state and local laws. Most colleges have behavior codes that may separately cover underage drinking. Contact us for a school discipline consultation if you are dealing with school-related consequences for underage drinking.
Bickerton Law is conveniently located 15 minutes from Downtown in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.