Giving Alcohol to a Minor
Underage drinking has become a serious problem in the state of Pennsylvania. According to a survey conducted by the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, just over 70 percent of teens in high school have had a drink on at least one day of their lives. About 19 percent of these teenagers had their first drink, beyond a few sips, before they hit the age of 13. In fact, they estimated there are as many as 499,000 cases of underage drinking each year in the state. This has created a major problem that needs to be addressed. It’s also the reason why it’s important for parents and other individuals to understand the ramifications of being charged with supplying alcohol to minors.
Specifics of the Law
Furnishing alcohol to minors is a crime in all states due to federal regulations that are in place. However, each state is able to make adjustments to the law to allow for exceptions and dictate the consequences of the actions. According to Title 18 as written by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, furnishing alcohol to minor is defined as an individual who supplies alcohol to minors by either selling it to them directly or by purchasing it for them, whether the intent is to sell it to them or give it to them. Even other underage individuals can be charged.
However, Pennsylvania does offer an exemption to this law that protects religious institutions that use alcohol as part of their typical ceremonies. According to the law, religious institutions are exempt as long as they only supply alcohol to minors in a traditional ceremony and the amount doesn’t exceed what is deemed appropriate or typical of that ceremony. This gives churches and other religious institutions the ability to perform their rituals without breaking the law and facing charges. Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania can also charge parents who supply alcohol to their minor children.
Penalties for Buying Alcohol for Minors in Pennsylvania
If you are facing charges of supplying alcohol to minors, you could be facing serious consequences. In the state of Pennsylvania, the minimum penalty you could face includes a fine of at least $1,000 for the first offense and $2,500 for any future offenses. However, this doesn’t mean a fine is the only issue you will have as a result of a conviction under this law. While no judge can issue a sentence of less than these amounts, there is always a risk the judge may order a larger fine or potentially jail time, especially in cases where an individual has been charged and convicted multiple times.
Count on an Experienced Attorney
Many individuals make the mistake of trying to handle this type of case on their own for a number of reasons. For instance, because the penalty seems relatively minor, especially in comparison to potential jail time with other charges. Others don’t see a problem with their actions and think they can convince the judge to throw out the case. In most cases, these individuals receive a full sentence and have a record as a result. To avoid these issues, it’s typically best to turn to experienced lawyers who have handled hundreds of similar cases. The right attorney can give you the support you need and help you prove your case so it can either be dropped or you receive only the minimum fine.
If you’re facing charges of supplying alcohol to a minor, make sure you get the representation you require, giving you the opportunity to prove your case in court and avoid the severe financial penalties that can result.