Can you be charged with a crime for paying for a drink for someone who is underage in a bar, if you didn’t know their age?

Asked on June 5, 2012 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes. It is essentially providing a minor with alcohol and in most states it is a strict liability crime, which means that you did not have to intend to do it, it simply happened. If you have been charged, contact a criminal defense attorney  immediately to see if the charges can be dropped or if you can sue the owners of the bar since this person probably should not have been in there in the first place.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.