If the underage person lied to me, told me he over 21, and provided me with a false identification card, how can I be charged with Furnishing Alcohol to Minors?

Lying About Age

A charge of Furnishing Alcohol to Minors under 18 Pa.C.S. 6310.1 requires proof that the person knew that the recipient of the alcohol was under 21. In the case of Commonwealth v. Scolieri, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court expressly stated that a conviction of Furnishing requires the Commonwealth to present evidence that it was known that the person was under 21. If the underage person lied about his or her age, that would be a viable defense to a charge under 6310.1. The prosecutor could still try to show that the furnisher did know that the person was under 21 by presenting evidence that the two people were friends and thereby knew the age of the person.  For example, if the furnisher and underage person went to the same high school, the furnished graduated 3 years ahead of the underage person, and the furnisher was 21, the prosecution could argue that the furnisher in fact knew that the underage person was less than 21.

The curveball with this defense is that there is another charge that is often filed in State College furnishing case. The police often file a charge called Unlawful Acts Relative to Liquor under 47 P.S. 4-493(1). This law does NOT require evidence that the furnisher knew that the recipient was under 21. It is what is called a “strict liability” offense, meaning the prosecution just needs to show that someone gave a minor alcohol. Whether or not the underage person used a fake ID or lied about his or her age is NOT a defense.  The Unlawful Acts charge is a misdemeanor offense, so a conviction could have an impact on a person’s ability to get a job in the future

ARD in State College Furnishing Cases

Many State College Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor cases involve Penn State students that have no prior criminal history or only relatively minor run-ins with the legal system. Such cases are routinely resolved via the pretrial diversionary program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). Successful completion of ARD allows the person to have the charges dismissed and then expunged so that the incident does not have a long term negative impact on the person’s future.