For many people under the age of 21, drinking before they are legally old enough is a rite of passage – but that doesn’t make it legal. Drinking before you turn 21 can lead to underage drinking charges, which can carry a high fine, cause you to lose your driver’s license, and severely impact your future if you are convicted.
The best way to avoid the risk of facing an underage drinking charge to avoid drinking before the age of 21 altogether. However, young people make mistakes. If you or an underage person you know is facing charges for underage drinking, get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible for help fighting the case against you. Contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates for more information about how you can set up a free legal consultation with our Bucks County underage drinking lawyers to discuss the best way to deal with underage drinking charges. Call (866) 781-4058 to learn more.
Underage Drinking Laws in Bucks County
In Bucks County, throughout Pennsylvania, and in the rest of the United States, a person must be 21 years-old to drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol while under 21 can result in criminal charges in Pennsylvania. This charge is known as “Purchase, Consumption, Possession or Transportation of Liquor or Malt or Brewed Beverages.” Under this law, it is illegal for people under 21 not only to drink alcohol but also to buy alcohol, attempt to buy alcohol, possess alcohol, or transport alcohol.
Pennsylvania’s “Good Samaritan Law” for Underage Drinking
It should be noted that Pennsylvania has “Good Samaritan Laws” that prevent charges from being filed against people under the age of 21 for drinking if they were the ones who contacted law enforcement officers during an emergency. This is known as the “Safe Harbor Law,” and it prevents a person that has called 9-1-1 from prosecution if they can prove that law enforcement only became aware of the underage drinking violation after the caller contacted emergency services, the caller was reasonable in their belief that they were the first person to call for medical attention for a person at risk of injury or death, they provided their name to emergency personnel, and they remained near the person needing medical attention until emergency personnel arrived.
Underage Drinking and Related Charges
It is possible that people under 21 may face other alcohol-related charges on top of underage drinking charges. One of these common charges is for lying about their age to buy alcohol, which can result in charges for “Misrepresentation of Age to Purchase Liquor or Malt or Brewed Beverages.” Another common charge that frequently accompanies underage drinking is “Carrying a False ID,” which is charged against anyone that possesses identification that contains false information about their age or date of birth. An underage person attempting to buy alcohol may also face charges for having a fake ID if they possess an identification card that was issued to another person, whether the person is real or not.
Penalties for Underage Drinking in Bucks County, PA
Penalties for underage drinking charges depend on the number of prior offenses. The possible penalties for an underage person charged with underage drinking include the following:
When an underage person faces charges for this summary offense for the first time, they are at risk of being sentenced to a 90-day license suspension and 90 days in jail.
A second offense may result in a 1-year license suspension, a fine of up to $1,000, and 1 year in jail. This is a summary offense.
A third offense is a third-degree misdemeanor. Possible penalties include a 2-year license suspension, a fine of up to $1,000, and up to 1 year in jail.
Penalties for Misrepresentation of Age to Purchase Liquor or Malt or Brewed Beverages
Another alcohol-related offense that underage people may be charged with is Misrepresentation of Age to Purchase Liquor or Malt or Brewed Beverages. Potential penalties for this charge include the following:
This will be a summary offense that includes a 90-day suspension of a driver’s license, a fine of up to $300, and, in some cases, 90 days in jail.
A second misrepresentation of age offense is a third-degree misdemeanor that can result in a 1-year driver’s license suspension, a fine of up to $500, and up to 1 year in jail.
When an underage person commits this offense for a third time, they will face a third-degree misdemeanor charge that can carry a driver’s license suspension of up to 2 years, a fine up to $500, and 1 year in jail.
Penalties for Carrying a Fake ID in Bucks County
Another alcohol-related charge common among underage drinkers is Carrying a False ID. Penalties for this charge are as follows:
This is a summary offense that may result in a 90-day license suspension and 90 days in jail. There is no fine attached to this charge.
A second offense of having a fake ID is a third-degree misdemeanor that can result in 1-year driver’s license suspension, a fine up to $500, and 1 year in jail.
When an underage person commits this offense for a third time, they may be penalized with a driver’s license suspension of 2 years, a fine of $500, and one year in jail. This is a third-degree misdemeanor.
Contact our Bucks County Underage Drinking Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation
If you have concerns about how underage drinking charges may affect your future or the future of your child, get in touch with the experienced Bucks County underage drinking lawyers at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates today. With a legal team that has years of experience in criminal law, we are prepared to fight for you or your loved one. Schedule a free legal consultation with Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates today by calling (866) 781-4058.