What you need to know about Underage Drinking laws

Did you know that a teenager without a driver’s license can lose the privilege of getting a learner’s permit or driver’s license if they are convicted of underage drinking?  It’s true.

Did you know that the Blood Alcohol Concentration limit is significantly LOWER for youth under the age of 21?  The BAC for youth under 21 is 0.02, not 0.08 as it is for adults.

Did you know that in insurance, there is no “First DUI forgiveness”?  Many insurance companies offer “First Accident Forgiveness”, but it will NOT apply to you if the accident is caused by a DUI or DWI.  Your rates will go up.


 

Underage drinking laws have 2 parts in most states

  1.  Underage DUI/DWI laws

  2. Purchase, possession, consumption of alcohol by a minor when no vehicle is involved

BOTH sets of laws can lead to the suspension or revocation of a driver’s license – or the prohibition of getting a learner’s permit or driver’s license.

Know the facts!  Scroll down to find your state information, or follow the links at the bottom of the page.  And talk to your teenagers about drinking.  Seriously.  It is your responsibility.  They will never go online and do a search for “consequences of underage drinking”.  It’s just not going to happen.  So it really is up to you to educate your child and make sure that they understand the consequences of their actions!

DUI, DWI, underage drinking laws, NY DUI, NY drinking laws, PA drinking laws, Penalties for underage drinking


In New York:

  1. Adults charged with a DUI or DWI face large fines, license revocation, increased insurance costs, legal fees, and possible jail time if it is not the first offense.  Minimum for a first offense is $125 fine and a 6 month license suspension and it will remain on your record for 3 years, increasing your insurance costs.
  2. Adults charged with a DUI or DWI with a minor under the age of 16 in the car face felony charges, automatic license suspension, and up to 4 years in state prison.
  3. Adults who cause injury to a child under the age of 16 as a result of driving impaired face felony charges and up to 15 years in state prison.  Adults who cause the death of a child under 16 as a result of driving impaired face felony charges and up to 25 years in state prison.  In addition, if you are the parent or guardian of the injured or deceased child, you will be reported to the State Registry of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.
  4. Underage drivers (under age 21) with a BAC of 0.02 or higher will face either an administrative hearing or a criminal court hearing.  If your BAC is higher than 0.07, you will be arrested and charged in criminal court.  Your license will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months and it is possible to have your license revoked for either 1 year or until you reach the age of 21, whichever is longer.

In Pennsylvania:

  1.  Minimum penalties for underage possession or consumption (no vehicle involved) are a fine of $500 and 90 days – 2 year license suspension.  If you do not have a license yet, you will be ineligible to apply for a learner’s permit for the applicable time frame.  If you are under 16, the applicable time frame will START on your 16th birthday.
  2. The Zero Tolerance Law for underage drinking and driving (BAC of 0.02 or higher while driving and under the age of 21) is strict and severe.  You will go to jail for 2 days to 6 months.  Your license will be suspended for a minimum of one year.  You will be fined anywhere from $500 – $5,000.
  3. In PA, if you are cited for underage drinking, a vehicle does NOT have to be involved for you to lose your driving priveleges.
  4. Adults, even parents, who supply minors with alcohol face a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to one year in jail for the first offense.  PA uses multiplication.  For example, if you have 15 teenagers in your home, drinking – you will pay $1,000 for the first teenager and $2,500 for EACH additional teenager, resulting in a total fine of $36,000.

In Connecticut:

  1.  Minimum penalties for underage possession or consumption (no vehicle involved) are a fine of $181 – $500 and 150 day license suspension.  If you do not have a license yet, you will be ineligible for the first 150 days that you otherwise would have been eligible for a drivers license.
  2. Underage drinking and driving first offense will result in up to 6 months in jail, 48 hours of community service, 90 day license suspension and a fine up to $1,000.  Subsequent offenses can lead to up to 3 years in prison, 1 year of community service, 2 years license suspension and up to $8,000 in fines, not to mention court costs and increased insurance costs.

In New Jersey:

  1.  Minimum penalties for underage possession or consumption (no vehicle involved) are a fine of $500 and a 6 month license suspension.  If you do not have a license yet, you will be ineligible for the first 6 months that you would otherwise have been eligible for a drivers license.  You may also be required to attend an alcohol education or treatment program.
  2. Minimum penalties for underage drinking and driving included loss or postponement of driving privileges for 30-90 days, 15-30 days of community service and mandatory participation in an alcohol and traffic safety education program.
  3. Refusal to submit to a breath test results in further punishments including fines, license suspensions, installation of an ignition interlock device and insurance surcharges.  This law is applicable to adults and underage consumers alike.

Click the links below for more detailed information on each state.

 New York laws

New Jersey laws

Pennsylvania laws

Connecticut laws

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