As a criminal defense attorney in State College, PA, I have represented countless students from Penn State, Lock Haven and other schools in underage drinking cases. With underage drinking citations in a college town as widespread as the common cold, I cannot help but question both the Pennsylvania approach and national approach to underage drinking. Are America's young people so biologically different from their European, African and Asian cousins that they cannot handle alcohol until the age of 21, while a German kid can legally drink beer and wine at age 16? The simple answer is no, and that is precisely why the 21 drinking age, in effect in all states since 1988, has been about as effective as the infamous Volstead Act, which criminalized alcohol in America from 1920 to 1933.
With springtime comes bar tour season to Penn State, and over the years, I have represented more than a few bar tour casualties. Bar tours can be a lot of fun if you pace yourself and drink responsibly, but if you drink too much and get out of control, you could find yourself charged with the likes of DUI, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct or criminal mischief, and even assault. And don't even think about using a fake ID on a bar tour. Fake IDs won't get you into a State College bar, but they get you into the back of a police car, while hundreds of people walk by looking at you in handcuffs.
Fake IDs are quite common throughout the United States, as a natural outgrowth of having a nationwide drinking age of 21. Fake IDs work in some places, while in other places, the bouncers and bartenders take every precaution to make sure an ID is legitimate before allowing someone to drink. Unfortunately for Penn State students, State College is one of those places where the bars not only refuse entry to a person with a fake ID, but the bouncers will actually detain the would-be underage bar crasher until the police show up. When the police arrive, they will either charge you with a first degree misdemeanor for "violations concenring licenses" or a summary offense, depending upon the facts of the case. At some bars, the owner actually pays the bouncers a bounty for each fake ID they confiscate. http://www.mattmlaw.com/Criminal-Defense-Overview/Underage-Drinking.shtml