The Law Office of Marc J. Semke
A Criminal Defense And Youth Advocacy Firm In York, Pennsylvania

Underage drinking and driving: penalties in Pennsylvania

When you are under 21, it can be tempting to drink, especially if you have friends who are of legal age. The pressure to fit in is heavy and could lead to getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. If the police pull you over and find that you are driving under the influence of alcohol, they can charge you with underage driving under the influence (DUI).

According to MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, roughly one-fourth of all crashes involve an underage driver who has been drinking. What are the penalties for this charge?


The legal drinking age is 21 years old in Pennsylvania. If the police pull you over and find that you are under 21 and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .02 percent or more, you may face an underage DUI charge. Penalties for this charge include:

  • Fine: A minimum of $500 up to $5,000
  • Jail time: A minimum of two days up to six months
  • License suspension: Up to one year

You may find that the penalties for underage drinking and driving are harsher if there was harm done to another individual. For example, if an underage person got behind the wheel after drinking and crashed into another car, causing damage to the vehicle and/or individual. On top of this, the charges get more severe for a second or third DUI charge.

Facing an underage DUI charge can be stressful and scary. However, knowing the penalties that you may face can be beneficial in preparing yourself if it occurs.

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