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What is Covered in Pennsylvania’s Underage Drinking Laws?

Every state has a set of alcohol laws that regulate the distribution and sale of alcohol. In some cases, specific counties and localities set their own rules regarding hours of sale and service, but it is typically the states that address issues like underage drinking.

Underage drinking laws do not just stop at minors being prohibited from consuming alcohol. Below are the issues most commonly covered:

  • Selling to minors: Stores and vendors are prohibited from selling, providing or giving alcohol to minors, as are any adults over the age of 21 in most cases.
  • Purchase of alcohol by minors: Minors may not purchase or otherwise obtain alcohol from vendors.
  • Possession of alcohol: Although there are some exceptions under federal law to possession rules for minors, most states do not allow minors to possess alcohol. Some of these common exceptions include alcohol for use in medical treatment (as long as it’s administered by a licensed healthcare professional), alcohol in private establishments or clubs, use of alcohol for religious purposes or possession of alcohol during lawful employment by a retailer, wholesaler or manufacturer.
  • Misrepresentation: It is illegal for minors to misrepresent their age for the purpose of obtaining alcohol. This includes the use of fake IDs.
  • Consumption: Pennsylvania is one of several estates that prohibits alcohol consumption, regardless of the circumstances. While minors in some states may consume alcohol if it’s in the presence of their parents, that is not the case in Pennsylvania.

For more information on these laws and to explore your legal options if you or your child has received an underage drinking citation, meet with knowledgeable Berks County defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.


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