Pennsylvania Alcohol Laws
Where to Buy Alcohol
Private retail stores sell all alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania, rather than state stores. Hours are typically 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
As in all states, an individual must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol. All other involvement with selling and transporting alcohol can be handled at age 18.
Open Container Laws
Open container laws in Pennsylvania are standard, with previously opened bottles of alcohol needing to be carried in the car’s trunk rather than where the driver or passengers have access.
If a driver is chemically tested (breath, blood, urine) by a police officer and the BAC (blood-alcohol content) level is .08 percent or more, the driver is considered to be ‘per se intoxicated’ and can be charged with DUI based on this evidence alone.
If a driver arrested for intoxication has a BAC level of .16 percent or more over the legal limit of .08 percent, that driver is subject to harsher DUI penalties.
Any driver under the age of 21 who operates a vehicle with a .02 percent BAC or higher is subject to DUI charges. This low limit is intended to discourage underage drinking and driving.
‘Implied consent laws’ govern drivers who refuse to cooperate with law enforcement requests for breath, blood, or urine testing for intoxication levels. Refusal carries mandatory penalties of suspension of the driver’s license for up to a year.
DUI convictions offer mandatory driver’s license suspension by the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) one year whether it is the first, second, or third offense.
Vehicle confiscation is a court-ordered possibility, usually for repeat offenders. It can involve significant expense for the offender.
With a second DUI conviction, the courts may impose sentencing of attachment of an ignition interlock device to the convicted DUI offender’s vehicle
Alcohol education or treatment/assessment for alcohol abuse can be required for DUI offenders in Pennsylvania with the second offense.