Underage Drinking

Pennsylvania

The policy topics, below, address statues and regulations related to underage drinking and access to alcohol.

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.

  • Beer: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Wine: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Spirits: 18 for both servers and bartenders

Notes:
In Pennsylvania, a minor who is 17 years of age who is a high school graduate or who is declared to have attained his or her academic potential by the chief administrator of his or her school district is deemed to be a minor of 18 years of age for purposes of the laws relating to the employment of minors by retail licensees
.

  • Beer: 18
  • Wine: 18
  • Spirits: 18

Notes:
In Pennsylvania, a minor who is 17 years of age who is a high school graduate or who is declared to have attained his or her academic potential by the chief administrator of his or her school district is deemed to be a minor of 18 years of age for purposes of the laws relating to the employment of minors by retail licensees.

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • No driver's license suspension procedure

Provision(s) targeting suppliers:

  • It is a criminal offense to lend, transfer, or sell a false ID
  • It is a criminal offense to manufacture or distribute a false ID

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • State provides incentives to retailers who use electronic scanners that read birthdate and other information digitally encoded on valid identification cards
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid

BAC limit: 0.00 - any detectable alcohol in the blood is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

  • Underage purchase
  • Underage possession
  • Underage consumption

Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

Authority to impose driver's license sanction

  • mandatory

Length of suspension/revocation: 90 days

Social host law is not specifically limited to underage drinking parties.

Action by underage guest that triggers violation: Possession

Property type(s) covered by liability law:

  • Residence
  • Outdoor
  • Other

Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: KNOWLEDGE - host must have actual knowledge of the occurrence