Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Dumb Beer Law Olympics: Pennsylvania DOT

A recent post by Megan McArdle has lessons both for how your past can haunt you, and how intransigent government bureaucracy can be:
At the age of nineteen, way back in 1992, I purchased a beer in a Philadelphia bar...

While consuming my one (1) beer, I was apprehended by agents of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board. They called my parents, fined me, and made me attend a class on the horrors of underaged drinking (did you realize that drinking can lead to uncontrollable vomiting?)
That should have been the end of it, or at least you'd think... What Megan didn't realize was that she had incurred the wrath of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation:
I went to apply for a District of Columbia driver's license this morning, only to be informed that I cannot, because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania wants to suspend my driver's license.

The problem, you see, is that at the time of my conviction, I did not have a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Driver's License. Indeed, I had no driver's license at all, being one of those benighted city people who get their first driver's license at the age of 23. The laws of the State of Pennsylvania, however, say that the Department of Transportation is entitled to suspend the driver's license of anyone arrested for underaged drinking. And the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is, apparently, determined to exercise this privilege.
Apparently Megan is not the only one to have been caught in this bureaucratic tiger trap. Admiral suggested I hold a "Dumb Beer Law Olympics" on this blog... I think this Pennsylvania horror story should qualify. Send in more and we'll vote for gold, silver and bronze.

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