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Drinking underage in Pennsylvania: what is the penalty?

Many students in high school and underage individuals partake in drinking when they are under the legal age of 21. While that may be true, the state of Pennsylvania takes underage drinking seriously, which is why there are severe consequences to the act. On top of this, underage drinking and driving is a serious offense which garners even greater punishment.

According to Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), within the last month over 25 percent of individuals aged 12-20 have consumed alcohol. That statistic noted, what is the penalty for underage drinking in Pennsylvania?


There are significant consequences for an underage individual to consume alcohol. If, while under 21 years of age, you are found with a .02 blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher, you may face these consequences:

  • Fine: $500
  • License suspension: 90 days

Individuals under the legal drinking age but found driving while intoxicated will likely face greater, more significant, consequences. Underage drinkers who drive have a high likelihood of crashing. Because it is so dangerous, the penalties include:

  • Jail time: Up to 6 months
  • Fine: At least $500
  • License suspension: 12 months
  • Minor in possession charge

It is important to note that having a BAC percentage over .16 (an excessively high level), involvement in a DUI accident that caused injury, or a second underage DUI can generate harsher charges and penalties.

Facing an underage drinking charge, or watching your child face the charge, can prove extremely troubling. However, knowing what the possible penalties are for the deed can prove beneficial.

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