If your child has been charged with any type of juvenile alcohol-related offense in Pennsylvania, it is in your best interest to immediately contact an experienced juvenile defense attorney. Michael J. Skinner defends minors from all over Delaware County, Lancaster County, Montgomery County, and Chester County.
The Skinner Law Firm helps clients achieve the most favorable outcomes to their criminal cases with the fewest possible punishments. Contact us today at (610) 436-1410 today to have your case reviewed during a free, confidential consultation.
Pennsylvania law prohibits people under 21 years of age from consuming or possessing alcohol. There are a number of state laws that can result in criminal charges when a minor attempts to purchase alcohol or is under the influence of alcohol.
In some of these cases, alleged offenders may be eligible for juvenile adjudication. While this type of outcome is not technically considered a criminal conviction, it can still involve many later consequences and is not always the best resolution.
An arrest warrant is issued by a judge if he or she believes there is probable cause showing you are the person who allegedly committed a crime. The arrest warrant may be the result of a police investigation, witness testimony, or a grand jury indictment. When a judge signs off on this type of warrant, the police will be authorized to search for you and arrest you at your home, your place of work, or any other location at which they find you.
Generally, an arrest warrant contains the following information:
If a person appears in any public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance to the degree that he or she may endanger himself or herself or other persons or property, or annoy persons in his or her vicinity, this is a summary offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for any subsequent violation.
If a person under the age of 21 years knowingly and falsely represents himself or herself to be 21 years of age or older to any licensed dealer, distributor or other person, for the purpose of procuring or having furnished to him or her, any liquor or malt or brewed beverages, this is a summary offense for a first violation and a third-degree misdemeanor for any subsequent violations. A summary offense is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a third-degree misdemeanor can result in up to $2,500 in fines and up to one year of incarceration.
If a person less than 21 years of age attempts to purchase, purchases, consumes, possesses or knowingly and intentionally transports any liquor or malt or brewed beverages, this is a summary offense punishable by a fine of up to $500 for the first violation and up to $1,000 for any subsequent violation.
If a person knowingly, willfully, and falsely represents to any licensed dealer, or other person, any minor to be of full age, for the purpose of inducing any such licensed dealer or other person, to sell or furnish any liquor or malt or brewed beverages to the minor, this is a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $300 up to $2,500 and up to one year of incarceration.
If a person hires or requests or induces any minor to purchase, or offer to purchase, liquor or malt or brewed beverages from a duly licensed dealer for any purpose, this is a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $300 up to $2,500 and up to one year of incarceration.
If a person intentionally and knowingly sells or intentionally and knowingly furnishes, or purchases with the intent to sell or furnish, any liquor or malt or brewed beverages to a person who is less than 21 years of age, this is a third-degree misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $1,000 up to $2,500 and up to one year of incarceration.
If a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly manufactures, makes, alters, sells or attempts to sell an identification card falsely representing the identity, birth date or age of another, this is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a minimum fine of $1,000 up to $5,000 and up to two years of incarceration for the first offense and a minimum fine of $2,500 up to $5,000 and up to two years of incarceration for any subsequent offense.
If a person under 21 years of age possesses an identification card falsely identifying that person by name, age, date of birth or photograph as being 21 years of age or older or obtains or attempts to obtain liquor or malt or brewed beverages by using the identification card of another or by using an identification card that has not been lawfully issued to or in the name of that person who possesses the card, this is a summary offense for a first violation and a third-degree misdemeanor for any subsequent violations punishable by a fine of up to $500.
If a person intentionally and knowingly sells or furnishes nonalcoholic beverages—meaning any beverage intended to be marketed or sold as nonalcoholic beer, wine or liquor having some alcohol content but not containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume—to any person under 21 years of age, this is a summary offense.
If a person under 21 years of age drives, operates or is in physical control of a motor vehicle while having any amount of alcohol in his or her system less than 0.02 percent, this is a summary offense punishable by a fine of $100.
If a person under 21 years of age who is an operator or an occupant in a motor vehicle is in possession of an open alcoholic beverage container or consumes a controlled substance or an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle while the motor vehicle is located on a Pennsylvania highway, this is a summary offense.
If a person under 21 years of age drives, operates or is in actual physical control of the movement of a vehicle after imbibing a sufficient amount of alcohol such that the alcohol concentration in the minor’s blood or breath is 0.02 percent or higher within two hours after the minor has driven, operated or been in actual physical control of the movement of the vehicle, a first or second offense is punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and up to six months of incarceration. Any subsequent offenses are punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and up to five years of incarceration.
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 6310.4, a conviction for Misrepresentation of age to secure liquor or malt or brewed beverages, Purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages, or Carrying a false identification card can result in the following restrictions of operating privileges:
Any person under 21 years of age convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania can face the following punishments in addition to fines and possible jail time:
Certain Pennsylvania Statutes contain exceptions in which criminal charges do not apply in the following cases:
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 6308 and Title 18 § 6310 allow a person under 21 years of age to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess or transport liquor or malt or brewed beverages is he or she is at least 18 years of age, is an officer, employee or intern of the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement of the Pennsylvania State Police, has completed training specified by the bureau, is acting within the scope of prescribed duties, and is acting under the direct control or supervision of a bureau officer who is an adult.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 6308 states that a person under 21 years of age shall be immune from prosecution for consumption or possession of alcohol if the only way law enforcement officers became aware of the person’s violation was because the person placed an emergency call in good faith, based on a reasonable belief, and reported that another person was in need of immediate medical attention to prevent death or serious injury, the person provided his or her own name to the 911 operator or equivalent campus safety, police or emergency officer, and the person remained with the person needing medical assistance until emergency health care providers arrived and the need for his or her presence had ended.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 18 § 6310.1 does not apply to any religious service or ceremony conducted in a private home or a place of worship where the amount of wine served does not exceed the amount reasonably, customarily, and traditionally required as an integral part of the service or ceremony.
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statute Title 75 § 3809 does not prohibit possession or consumption by any passenger in the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained or used primarily for the lawful transportation of persons for compensation, including buses, taxis and limousines, or any individual in the living quarters of a house coach or house trailer.
As a former prosecutor, Michael J. Skinner provides his clients with valuable insight into how their cases will be handled and what evidence can help charges be reduced or dismissed. Our criminal defense attorney works relentlessly to protect the rights of minors all over Southeastern Pennsylvania.