Underage Drinking

Drinking alcohol when you are under the age of 21 is illegal in the state of Pennsylvania. Minors who possess alcohol, purchase alcohol or engage in drunken and disorderly conduct in public can be charged with various offenses as a result of their illegal underage drinking. In addition, it is also illegal for a minor to drive a vehicle whenever he or she hss consumed any alcohol. This means that a teen driver does not need to have a blood alcohol content above the legal limit of .08 in order to be considered guilty of driving under the influence.

Under the current Pennsylvania zero tolerance law, teens can be found guilty of underage drinking with a blood alcohol content of as low as .02 percent. This means that even a sip or two of alcohol could potentially result in a charge of underage drinking. Fortunately, you do have potential defenses you can raise and an experienced criminal defense lawyer at the law firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin can explain those defenses and options to you. Contact us today to learn about the possible defenses to underage drinking as well as alternatives including an ARD program to avoid criminal conviction.

Pennsylvania Laws on Underage Drinking

A teen conviction for drinking and driving or other underage drinking offenses can have very serious consequences. Not only is the loss of your driver’s license a given when convicted of drinking and driving while underage, but you may also have a criminal record that sticks with you for life. In some cases, depending on your blood alcohol content, you may even be subject to a term of incarceration, put on probation, forced to complete drug or alcohol counseling, required to do community service, fined and subject to other penalties. For instance:

  • With a BAC between 02 and .159 percent, your driver’s license may be suspended for 12-18 months and you face between 48 hours and 6 months of jail time.
  • For a fourth offense, you face between 1 and 5 years of incarceration
  • You will be fined between $500 and $5000 for a first offense.
  • You may be required to complete a state approved Alcohol Highway Safety Program, to undergo a drug evaluation or a Court Reporting Network evaluation, and to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle after your suspension is over.

These are just a few of the potential penalties you face. Other consequences will depend upon your age at the time of your arrest and on your blood alcohol content, as harsher penalties are imposed for individuals with a higher BAC or for teens who refuse to take a blood alcohol test when they are pulled over and suspected of driving drunk.

If you are a teen who has been arrested for underage drinking or driving while under the influence of alcohol, it is very important that you get legal help. Parents of teens who have been arrested or charged with underage drinking offenses also need to take action to help their children by contacting an experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer. The criminal defense law firm of Lawrence R. Dworkin has helped countless teens and minors accused of underage drinking offenses and we can put our legal experience and expertise to work for you. Contact us today at 610-357-3506 or using our online form to learn how we can help.

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