PA Underage and Drinking Laws

Spring is a season of new life and new growth for trees and plants but it can also be a deadly season for high school students. Spring means high school proms, high school graduation parties and senior week. Dads and Moms cross their fingers and hold their breath hoping their children make smart choices and come home uninjured. It would be great if our kids could make it through these terrific times without getting injured or killed in an alcohol-related incident or car accident.

President Harry Truman found it hard to give advice to his kids. He once said, “I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” I do not believe it is quite that useless to give advice although I remember it being, at best, begrudgingly tolerated by my kids when they were seniors. Nevertheless, we have to try to help these young adults make smart choices.

Starting next week, I will review the various laws in Pennsylvania that control underage drinking and affect those under 21 who drink and drive. But first, Dads and Moms must help our high school students make good choices by eliminating some bad choices. Dads and Moms simply cannot serve alcoholic beverages to high school students at graduation parties. Supplying alcoholic beverages to individuals under age 21 is against the law in Pennsylvania and can result in criminal charges. Furthermore, Pennsylvania imposes social host liability on those who supply alcoholic beverages to individuals under the age of 21 who attend social events in your home. Have a great party, give beers to your adult friends, just do not give a single beer to one of the high school graduates.

Thank you for reading. Until next week, let’s be careful out there.
John A. Orlando, Esquire can be reached in his office at 115 Fayette Street, by phone at (610) 897-2576 or by email at Please visit our website at