TIP OF THE WEEK: Underage Drinking Laws

With high school and college graduation parties and proms later this Spring, it is important that everyone be aware of information related to sponsoring parties and underage drinking.

Underage Drinking Laws

Minors who purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages, as well as minors who are intoxicated in public or misrepresent their age to obtain alcoholic beverages, face the following consequences:

  • Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500
  • Alcohol awareness class
  • 8 to 40 hours community service
  • 30 to 180 days loss or denial of driver’s license

If a minor is seventeen years of age or older and the violation is the third offense, the offense is punishable by a fine of $250 to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, as well as automatic driver’s license suspension.

A minor with previous alcohol-related convictions will have his or her driver’s license suspended for one year if the minor does not attend alcohol awareness training that has been required by a judge.

Penalties for Providing Alcohol to a Minor

Adults and minors who give alcohol to a minor also face a stiff penalty. The punishment for making alcoholic beverages available to a minor is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail for up to a year, or both. Additionally, the violator will have his or her driver’s liense automatically suspended for 180 days upon conviction.

Persons 21 or older (other than the parent or guardian) can be held liable for damages caused by intoxication of a minor under 18 if the adult knowingly provided alcoholic beverages to a minor or knowingly allowed the minor to be served or provided alcoholic beverages on the premises owned or leased by the adult.

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