Underage Drinking in Pittsburgh
In the United States, the current legal drinking age is 21. When individuals partake in alcohol at a younger age, they and the people responsible for furnishing the liquor to the minors can be charged. Understanding the specifics of the law and what these charges mean, as well as the serious nature of this issue can provide the guidance you need to keep yourself out of trouble and help you protect the young people in your life.
What Is the Penalty for Drinking Under the Age of 21?
Individuals under the age of 21 can be charged with underage drinking if they are found to possess, buy, transport or drink beer, wine or any other type of alcohol in the state of Pennsylvania. In addition to a basic charge of underage drinking, individuals can be charged with a driving under the influence, which is a second-degree misdemeanor for underage individuals. Finally, individuals who throw a private party and serve alcohol to minors can be held responsible if the minors are injured in any way as a result of the drinking. Parents who allow drinking in their home can also be charged.
Consequences of Underage Drinking
After individuals are charged with underage drinking or supplying alcohol to a minor with a resulting injury, they will face charges in a court of law. The penalties that result will depend on the charges brought forward and can include the following:
- Underage drinking can result in up to $300, up to 90 days in jail or a combination of the two.
- An underage DUI can face up to two years in jail and up to $5,000 in fines. Individuals will also lose their license for at least three months, up to a full year.
- Providing alcohol to a minor at a party with a resulting injury may be sued by the injured party.
- Parents who supply alcohol to minors can face a $1,000 fine and a year in jail.
Underage Drinking Facts (and the Effects)
While few people consider the consequences of underage drinking, especially when individuals are close to the legal drinking age, there are serious issues that can occur when consuming alcohol from a younger age. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, underage drinking is a more serious problem than tobacco and illegal drugs. Studies have shown alcohol consumption by minors is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths each year. Unfortunately, individuals between the ages of 12 and 20 are responsible for 11 percent of all drinkers and these individuals are more likely to consume more than their legal counterparts. Youth who drink are also more likely to struggle with school, get into legal trouble, engage in sexually risky behavior, suffer from memory loss, use other drugs, and much more.
Underage Drinking Statistics
In the state of Pennsylvania, approximately 71 percent of teens in high school have tried at least one drink with 19 percent of those individuals taking their first drink before the age of 13. With more than 499,000 cases of underage drinking each year in the state, it has become a serious problem. As of 2012, the following statistics were gathered to show the harm that can result from underage drinking:
- 45 traffic fatalities and nearly 2,500 non-fatal accidents resulted from underage drinking.
- More than 19,000 non-fatal violent crimes occurred.
- 11 alcohol-related fatal drownings, burns, and suicides were reported.
- More than 70,000 teens engage in high-risk sexual activity and more than 1,000 teen pregnancies resulted.
Whether you’re facing underage drinking charges or any related charges, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney. Our attorneys can provide the necessary guidance to help you fight the charges you face. Contact our attorneys today if you or your child was charged with underage drinking or minor consumption of alcohol.
We provide free legal consultations.