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Alcohol Laws in Pennsylvania

This is a general summary of several alcohol laws in Pennsylvania. For more details about each law and for information about additional alcohol laws, visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Underage Drinking

Underage drinking is illegal. It is also illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or knowingly and intentionally transport any liquor, malt or brewed beverage. Penalties may include:

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd OffenseSubsequent Offense
Fine 0–$500 0–$1000 0–$1000
Jail 0–90 days 0–90 days 0–90 days
License Suspension 90 days 1 year 2 years

By law, the State College Police Department and University Police are required to notify parents or guardians of all underage drinking violations.

Carrying False I.D.

It is illegal for anyone under 21 to possess an identification card falsely identifying that person by name, age, date of birth, or photograph as being 21 or older or obtain or attempt to obtain liquor, malt, or brewed beverage by using the identification card of another or by using an identification card that has not been lawfully issued to or in the name of the person who possesses the card.

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd OffenseSubsequent Offense
Fine0–$3000–$5000–$500
Jail 0–90 days0–1 year0–1 year
License Suspension 90 days 1 year 2 years

Public Drunkenness

It is illegal to appear in any public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol … to the degree that you may endanger yourself or other persons or property, or annoy others in your vicinity.

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd OffenseSubsequent Offense
Fine0–$5000-$10000-$1000
Jail0–90 days0–90 days0–90 days

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive a vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .02 or higher, and it is illegal for those 21 and older to drive with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. A first-time offense individual, under certain circumstances, may qualify for an Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program.

Penalty 1st Offense 2nd OffenseSubsequent Offense
Fine$500-$5,000$750-$5,000$1,500-$10,000
Jail48 hours -6 months30 days -6 months90 days -5 years
License Suspension1 year 1 year1.5 years
Other:Alcohol Highway Safety
School
1 year Ignition Interlock
License
1 year Ignition Interlock
License
Court Reporting
Network File
Alcohol Highway
Safety School
Court Reporting
Network File
Court Reporting
Network File
*Depending on your Blood Alcohol level you may be charged under additional subsections of the DUI statute.

Note: If a student is from a state other than PA and the home state is part of the national compact on DUI enforcement (46 states are), the student must fulfill these penalties in PA and his/her license from the home state will be suspended, if applicable.

Furnishing Alcohol to Minors

It is illegal to knowingly sell or furnish, or purchase with the intent to sell or furnish, any liquor, malt or brewed beverage to a person who is less than 21 years of age. You can be convicted of furnishing alcohol even if you are under age 21. The fine for first offense is at least $1,000 and second or more is $2,500. Jail is up to one year for all.

State College, PA Ordinances Open Container Ordinance

It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in any public parking lot or public parking garage, public street, public sidewalk, public alley, or public park in State College. Violations result in fines of $100 to $600 plus costs or 30 days in prison if fines and costs are not paid.

Public Urination and Defecation Ordinance

It is illegal to urinate or defecate in/on a public place, private property where the public is admitted; private property without consent of the owner. It is illegal to urinate or defecate in any public place other than in an appropriate sanitary facility or fail to clean, remove, or dispose of it properly. Violations are summary offenses with fines of $300 to $600.

Penn State’s Alcohol and Illegal Substances Policy in the Residence Halls

1. The possession or use of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in all Penn State on-campus undergraduate residence hall buildings including Nittany Apartments and Eastview Terrace.

2. It is a violation of state law and University policy for a student under 21 years of age to attempt to purchase, consume, possess, or transport alcoholic beverages. It is unlawful to sell, furnish, and give alcoholic beverages or to permit alcoholic beverages to be sold, furnished or given to any minor.

3. It is against residence hall policy for there to be any tailgating activities in the residential quad areas or residence hall parking lots where alcoholic beverages are being served on any football game/event weekend including all home football games, Football Eve, Fourth Fest, and the spring Blue and White Weekend. Students tailgating with alcoholic beverages in these defined areas will be confronted and will likely be charged with “open containers in an unauthorized area.”

4. Residents will be held responsible for activities that occur in their rooms, and will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police if guests are violating the oncampus alcohol policies listed above.

5. Failure to comply with the direction of or to present identification to a University Official acting in the performance of their duties is a violation of the Code of Conduct and will result in a referral to the Office of Residence Life or the Office of Student Conduct.

6. It is against the Code of Conduct to supply false information, such as name, age, etc. to University Officials who are acting in the performance of their duties.

Illegal Substances (Drugs)

1. It is a violation of state and university policy to illegally possess, use,distribute, manufacture, sell or be under the influence of other drugs.Students who violate this policy will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct, and/or University Police.

2. It is against residence hall policy for a student to be in a residential area (room, common area, common building, building entryway, or quad area immediately adjacent to the residence halls) and in the presence of an illegal substance. Students who are in the presence of an illegal substance in these areas will be referred to the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Student Conduct and/or University Police. The complete residence hall policy about alcohol can be found at the University Park Housing page. The Student Rights and Responsibility Section provides additional insight into the Student Code of Conduct

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