Montgomery County Pennsylvania Legal Blog

Pennsylvania exceptions to the minor in possession laws

It is illegal in most states, including Pennsylvania, for a minor to be in the possession of alcohol when they are under the age of 21, or the legal drinking age. While Pennsylvania take underage possession seriously, there are a few exceptions to this rule.


You may not want to refuse to breathalyze in Pennsylvania

Perhaps you left a local bar after having beers with colleagues. You roll through a stop sign, and an officer pulls you over. The officer notes your slurred speech and inability to make eye contact, so they ask you to perform a field sobriety test. You believe you pass, yet the officer asks to test your BAC level with a breathalyzer.

You may not want to refuse. Perhaps you believe that by the time an officer arrests you and brings you to the station for further testing, your BAC level may test low enough to pass. Unfortunately, because of the law of implied consent, you may already be charged with a crime in addition to a DUI.

Is it worth it to be buzzed and bike?

Biking to the bar seems like a safe alternative to driving – especially for a college student who lives nearby. In reality, most people recognize the dangers of drunk biking for riders and pedestrians, and more states classify bicycles as vehicles to push the same penalties for DUI on intoxicated bikers.

In Pennsylvania, a bicycle is considered a vehicle and a person who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol cannot operate any vehicle. If they are caught driving, or biking, under the influence, they can be charged with a DUI.

Higher risk of DUI in people with impaired alcohol metabolism

The standard advice to avoid DUI warns us not to drink more than one drink an hour, because our bodies are only capable of processing a certain amount of alcohol every hour depending on factors like gender, body mass and liver size. The way our bodies metabolize alcohol impacts BAC, or blood alcohol concentration, which is used to determine impaired driving. But do problems with alcohol metabolism increase risk of DUI? 

Want to serve your minor child alcohol? Not in Pennsylvania

It’s part of the nature and culture of being a teenager to rebel and push the rules. For some teenagers, that includes drinking. While some argue that early exposure to alcohol in a controlled environment is a safer way to expose teenagers, others say it will only lead to drinking at a more irresponsible level later.

Many are under the impression that it is legal to serve a minor alcoholic beverages as long as certain conditions are met. This is not the case in Pennsylvania.

Do juveniles understand the Miranda warning?

Children and adults are treated differently and have different expectations. There is no denying this reality. When there is a criminal issue, juveniles and adults go through different courts. While there are differences, the principle of due process is a universal American right. It means that everyone has the same right to a fair trial.

While it's a core American value, those differences between kids and adults are worth noting. One big legal issue is Miranda Rights, known for their use on TV police shows and starting with "You have the right to remain silent." While we all know these words, do we know what they mean? Does a child know what they mean?

When to hire an attorney to fight a traffic ticket

You were pulled over for speeding. It’s a big pain, but it seems to only make sense to just pay the fine and get on with your life. It’s not worth fighting, is it?

You may be surprised how much one ticket can affect your insurance rates, especially for young drivers. This is especially true if you’ve already had a ticket and are in danger of accumulating enough points to have your license suspended. It may well be worth it to hire an attorney to fight that ticket.

What happens if I get caught underage drinking in Pennsylvania?

You probably know that the legal drinking age in Pennsylvania is 21. But peer pressure as a teenager is also something serious. If you’re at the homecoming after-party, and everyone on the soccer team is doing keg stands, you might be tempted to join in.

Can a few beers in high school really matter that much? What consequences could you face?

Juvenile assault charge leads to teen facing hate crime charges

In Pennsylvania, the hate crime category is seldom utilized. However, a recent case that involved a teen facing assault charges has turned into a different situation altogether. Now a ninth grade student faces charges of ethnic hate crimes.

The case against the 14-year-old boy was opened after the Northampton District Attorney's office heard of the charges against an African-American teen. According to the report, the teenager was charged after he allegedly attacked the younger boy for supposedly posting demeaning footage of the older boy on a social media site. It was that footage and the purportedly accompanying derogatory language that prompted the DA to pursue a case against the freshman.

When is an interlock device used in Pennsylvania?

Interlock devices are breath test kits that you use to start your car. When an interlock device is installed in your car, you need to blow into the machine to prove that you have not been drinking. It will not start if it detects alcohol.

Historically they've been required for repeat DUI offenders and special cases of extreme intoxication. One recent study at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that they reduce traffic deaths, which is likely to increase the push for their use on a larger scale, both nationally and in Pennsylvania.


Theodore H. Swan, Jr., Attorney at Law
1150 Old York Road
Abington, PA 19001

Toll Free: 866-955-2946
Phone: 267-415-6130
Fax: (215) 886-8652
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