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An interesting exception to Pennsylvania underage drinking laws

It is all too tempting for teenagers in Pennsylvania to experiment with alcohol, whether it is due to peer pressure or mere curiosity. However, when such experimentation goes too far, leading to a crisis situation, teenagers need to be able to seek the help they or others need to rescue them from what may be a dangerous situation without fear of punishment. Pennsylvania law recognizes this, and provides an interesting exception to underage drinking for those seeking medical aid for another.

Under Pennsylvania law, a person will not be prosecuted for underage drinking if the sole reason police learned of the person had illegally consumed alcohol was because the person in good faith phoned 911, campus safety, police or emergency medical technicians, on the reasonable belief that another individual required immediate medical attention, without which the other individual would die or be seriously injured.

In addition, the person reporting the situation must have the reasonable belief that he or she was the initial individual to make such a call. The person reporting the situation must provide the authorities with his or her real name and must stay with the individual in need of medical aid until help arrives in order to be covered by this exception.

Teenagers who find themselves over their head when it comes to underage drinking and fear for the life of another should not be afraid to seek help. Doing so can save the life of another, and teenagers should not be punished for seeking help after engaging in underage drinking. While Pennsylvania law in general bans underage drinking, this ban should not be extended to those who are doing the right thing by seeking emergency aid when needed.


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