School has just let out and it's graduation party season. Kids will be celebrating their accomplishments and parents will be hosting big celebrations in their child's honor. So what happens when the kids get a little out of hand and have some drinks at the party you're hosting? If minors get caught for underage drinking, they are subject to Pennsylvania's underage drinking laws. For a first offense, the minor could be subject to a fine up to $300, up to 90 days in jail and a 90 day suspension of his/her driver's license.
Speaking as an experienced Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Attorney, parents can also be held accountable by law for the minor drinking on their property. The penalty for furnishing alcohol to minors is to pay a fine not less than $1,000 for the first offense, and a fine of $2,500 for each subsequent offense. In addition, at a maximum, an adult can be subject to 0-12 months in prison. A parent doesn't even have to physically provide the alcohol to the minor to be held responsible. Simply turning a blind eye can be enough to face charges. This summer, when celebrating your child's accomplishments, celebrate responsibly.
Matthew R. Rogers, Gusty A.E. Sunseri Associates