Under 21 and Alcohol: What you don’t know can hurt you!

This article is intended for clients and children of clients who may be under the magic age of 21.  It is well known that driving while intoxicated is a traffic offense, and that it is illegal to drink under the age of 21.

It is also a crime if any person under 21 years of age “attempts to purchase, purchases, consumes, possesses or knowingly and intentionally transports” alcohol. 18 Pa.C.S. Sec. 6308.

Misrepresentation of age (Sec. 6307) and carrying false identification (sec. 6310.3) are also crimes as found in Title 18, of the Crimes Code.

What few realize is that an adjudication or conviction, which includes ARD, of one of the above crimes also results in the loss of drivers license. 18 PA.C.S. Sec. 6310.4

This is a mandatory sentence in addition to any other fines or penalties imposed by the Court.  For the first offense the suspension is for 90 days.  The second offense is a one year suspension.  Subsequent offenses are two year suspensions.

You don’t need to be driving a car.  You don’t need to be in a car.  This is not vehicle related.  Just be under 21 and get caught with alcohol and you WILL lose your driver’s license.

Is this fair? Maybe, maybe not.  But the Legislature in their infinite wisdom has decided that this additional penalty will make young adults think twice before they consume alcohol.

The problem is that very few young adults know of this provision of the law.  The loss of license is mandatory and not within the discretion of the Judge.

And for those who provide alcohol to persons under 21, in addition to other penalties, the mandatory minimum fine for the first offense is $1,000.00, and subsequent offenses is $2,500.00 (PA.C.S. Sec. 6310.1)

Please do remind your children and friends who are young adults about this heightened penalty.  Get caught with alcohol, and you WILL lose.

What you didn’t know can hurt you.