What are the penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor?
Charges of Underage Drinking and Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor go hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly. Many people assume that Furnishing Alcohol to Minors is not a big deal because many kids drink underage at college and thereby are provided with alcohol by their friends. Regrettably, the person that provides alcohol to a minor is in much more trouble than the person drinking that alcohol. Underage Drinking is a summary offense, but Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor is actually a misdemeanor offense in Pennsylvania. With the charge being a misdemeanor offense, a person charged with Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor must be “processed,” which means that the person must be fingerprinted and have a mugshot taken. The processing means that the charge will appear on most, if not all, criminal background searches. A conviction of any criminal offense can make it more difficult to obtain employment or internships. For Penn State students, the criminal charges can result in the university proceeding with its disciplinary process for violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
Possible Sentences for Furnishing Alcohol to Minors
In Centre County, a person suspected of furnishing alcohol is often charged with two criminal offenses, one is Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor under 18 Pa.C.S. 6310.1 and the second is Unlawul Acts Relative to Liquor under 47 P.S. 4-493. The charges are slightly different. The 6310.1 charge is slightly more difficult to prove and thereby carries more severe penalties. A person that is convicted of Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor under 18 Pa.C.S. 6310.1 faces a minimum fine of $1,000.00 for the first violation and a fine of $2,500.00 for each subsequent violation. The fines are mandatory minimums, meaning a sentencing judge is required by law to impose those fines. In some situations, the police file a Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor charge for EVERY underage person at a party, which obviously substantially increases the fines.
Aside from the fines, a person convicted of Furnishing is also placed on probation. It is relatively rare that a judge would impose a sentence of jail time for a furnishing case unless the case has egregious facts or the person has a lengthy prior criminal history. A person convicted of the misdemeanor Furnishing Charge under the Liquor Code is subject to a fine of at least $100.00 but not more than $500.00 for a first offense, and a fine of not less than $300.00 nor more than $500.00 for a subsequent offense.