Underage Drinking Laws
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What Are Underage Drinking Laws?
Underage Drinking Laws are laws that attempt to prevent minors from drinking alcohol.
Who Is a Minor?
Because the national minimum drinking age is 21 years old, most states consider anyone under 21 to be a minor for the purpose of underage drinking laws. However, some states only consider people under 17 to be minors. Despite this conflict, in all states it is illegal to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
How Do Underage Drinking Laws affect Minors?
Underage drinking laws impose strict rules on minors in relation to alcohol. Under these laws, it is illegal for minors to:
- Possess alcohol
- Consume alcohol
- Purchase or attempt to purchase alcohol
- Possess a fake ID or otherwise misrepresent their age
- Drive with even a negligible BAC (the amount varies by state)
How Do Underage Drinking Laws affect Everyone Else?
Underage drinking laws do not just affect minors. They also prohibit anyone else from contributing to underage drinking unless the minor is the person¿s ward or child. Thus, it is illegal for any person to:
- Buy or give alcohol to a minor
- Allow a minor to consume alcohol on that person¿s property
- Allow a minor to use that person's ID
- Sell alcohol to anyone under 21, even if they misrepresent their age
What Are the Consequences for Minors?
Violating underage drinking laws is a misdemeanor. Therefore, punishments for violating underage drinking laws are fairly severe. They include:
- Suspension of driver's license
- Community service
- Mandatory alcohol awareness courses
- Possible jail time
What Are the Consequences for Everyone Else?
Just as for minors, violating underage drinking laws is a misdemeanor when committed by those over 21. The possible consequences of violating underage drinking laws for people who are not minors include:
- Jail time
What Should You Do if You Are Accused of Violating the Underage Drinking Laws?
If you are accused of violating underage drinking laws, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you learn more about your rights and possible defenses to the charge.
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Last Modified: 06-10-2014 03:50 PM PDT
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