Underage Drinking Laws

Penalty for Underage drinking

The drinking age limit established throughout the United States is 21 years of age; however, each state enforces this limit in different ways. These are possible punishments for an individual who has been convicted for possessing, attempting to purchase, or consuming alcohol under the age of 21. This section is meant to be a general list of possible punishments. This is not an extensive list of each jurisdictional authority but a guideline of some of the possible punishments an individual may face if found to be underage drinking in each state.

Alabama Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to consume, purchase or possess alcohol. If convicted, the minor will be fined $25-$100, and the minor can be imprisoned up to 30 days. The minor's driver's license may also be suspended for three to six months.

Sources: Code of Ala. § 28-1-5, Code of Ala. § 28-3A-25(b)(2)

Alaska Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 years of age found to possess, consume or attempt to purchase alcohol may be fined $200-$600. The minor may also be required to attend alcohol information school. A minor previously convicted of this offense can be fined $1,000 and be required to complete at least 48 hours of community work. The minor's driver's license may also be revoked for 3 months.

Source: Alaska Stat. § 04.16.050

Arizona Underage Drinking Law

A person under the legal drinking age of 21 found to purchase, have in possession, or consume alcohol may be subject to a fine. A person under the age of 18 may also be subject to suspension of driving privileges for 180 days.

Source: A.R.S. § 4-246 (42), A.R.S. § 4-244

Arkansas Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for any person under 21 years of age to purchase or have in possession any intoxicating liquor, wine, or beer. Any minor violating this will be fined $100-$500. The minor may also be required to write themes or essays on intoxicating liquors, wine, or beer and/or be placed under probationary conditions to help prevent and educate to prevent further violations. In addition, the minor must immediately surrender his or her license. The license suspension is 60 days for the first offense, 120 days for a second offense, and one year for a third offense.

Source: A.C.A. § 3-3-203

California Underage Drinking Law

Any person who attempts to buy alcohol under the age of 21 may be fined up to $250 and may be required to perform 24-32 hours of community service. The minor may also have his or her driving privileges suspended for one year.

Source: Cal Bus & Prof Code § 25658, Cal Veh Code § 13202.5

Colorado Underage Drinking Law

Any person under 21 years of age who possesses or consumes alcohol will be fined up to $250 on the first offense. In addition, the minor may also be required to perform up to 24 hours of public service and complete an alcohol consultation or education program. The minor may also have his or her driving privileges suspended for three months for the first offense, six months for a second offense, and up to one year for a third offense.

Source: CRS 18-13-122, C.R.S. 42-2-125

Connecticut Underage Drinking Law

Any minor possessing alcohol may be fined $200-$500. A minor in violation of an alcohol offense may also have his or her driving privileges suspended.

Source: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 30-89, 14-111

Delaware Underage Drinking Law

For the first offense of possession or consumption of alcohol under 21 years of age, the minor will have his or her driver's license suspended for 30 days. For each subsequent offense, the license will be suspended 90-180 days for each offense. If that minor does not have a Delaware driver's license, the minor will be fined $100 for the first offense and $200-$500 for each subsequent offense.

Source: 4 Del. C. § 904

Florida Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for any person under 21 years of age to purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages. If convicted, the minor is guilty of a 2nd degree misdemeanor. A 2nd degree misdemeanor is subject to a fine of $500. A person under the age of 18 found guilty of an alcohol violation will also be subject to a suspension of driving privledges for six months to one year.

Source: Fla. Stat. § 562.111, Fla. Stat. § 322.056, 775.082 or .083, 562.11

Georgia Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 is prohibited from attempting to purchase or possess alcohol. A minor convicted of an alcohol violation may have his or her driver's license suspended. On the first offense, the minor can apply to have his or her license reinstated after 6 months. For a second offense, that minor can apply for a reinstatement after 12 months.

Source: OCGA 3-3-23, O.C.G.A. § 40-5-57.1

Hawaii Underage Drinking Law

Individuals aged 18-21 convicted for an underage alcohol violation may have their license suspended 180 days or more. For a minor with a provisional license (the license for those drivers under age 18), that license will be suspended for 180 days or more.

Source: HRS § 281-101.5

Idaho Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for a person under 21 years of age to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess or consume an alcoholic drink. A minor in violation of this offense is guilty of a misdemeanor. For the first conviction, the minor will be fined up to $1000. The minor's driving privileges will also be suspended for up to year.

Source: Idaho Code §23-949--punished by Idaho Code § 18-1502

Illinois Underage Drinking Law

A person under the age of 21 is prohibited from purchasing or possessing alcohol. The minor will be subject to a fine and a possible suspension of driving privileges. The fine can be a minimum of $500. The minor may also be required to perform 25 hours of community service.

Source: 235 ILCS 5/6-20, 235 ILCS 5/6-16

Indiana Underage Drinking Law

A individual under the age of 21 years old is subject to a Class C misdemeanor for knowingly possessing or consuming an alcoholic beverage. Upon conviction the minor's driving privileges will be suspended for up to one year.

Source: SeeBurns Ind. Code Ann. § 9-24-18-12, Burns Ind. Code Ann. § 7.1-5-7-7

Iowa Underage Drinking Law

A person under the age of 21 who purchases or attempts to purchase or possess alcohol commits a simple misdemeanor. The first violation can be a fine of up to $200. A second offense is a simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 and suspension of the minor's motor vehicle operating privileges for up to one year.

Source: Iowa Code § 123.47

Kansas Underage Drinking Law

Any person who violates this section is guilty of a class C misdemeanor and is subject to a minimum fine of $200. The minor can also be required to perform 40 hours of public service or attend an educational program dealing with the effects of alcohol. Also upon the first conviction, the court will suspend the minor's driving privleges for 30 days. The second offense can cause the driving privledges to be suspended for 90 days.

Source: K.S.A. § 41-727; 41-2701

Kentucky Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 is prohibited from possessing, purchasing, or attempting to purchase alcohol. A person found in violation can be subject to fines and possible suspension of driving privileges.

Source: KRS § 244.085, KRS § 186.560

Louisiana Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for any person under 21 years of age to purchase or have public possession of an alcoholic beverage. If violated, the minor will be fined up to $100 and/or imprisoned for up to six months. In addition the minor's driver's license may be suspended for up to 180 days.

Source: La. R.S. 14:93.12

Maine Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 who purchases or consumes alcohol commits a civil violation. There is a fine of $200-$400.

Source: 28-A M.R.S. § 2051

Maryland Underage Drinking Law

A person under the age of 21 may not possess, attempt to purchase, or consume alcoholic beverages. A person found in violation is subject to a fine or suspension of driving privileges. A first offense violation can carry a suspension up to six months.

Source: Md. CRIMINAL LAW Code Ann. § 10-114, Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 3-8A-19

Massachusetts Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for an individual under the age of 21 to attempt to purchase alcohol. A violation is punishable by a fine and loss of driving privileges. The fine can be up to $300, and the suspension of the license can be for a period of 180 days.

Source: ALM GL ch. 138, § 34A

Michigan Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 is not permitted to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcohol. The first violation is a fine up to $100. The court may also require the individual to participate in substance abuse prevention services and may order the minor to perform community service. The minor's driver's license will also be suspended for 90 days.

Source: MCLS § 436.1703, MCLS § 257.319

Minnesota Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for a person under the age of 21 to consume, purchase, attempt to purchase, or have possession of alcohol. A minor in violation of the alcohol provision is guilty of a misdemeanor and will be fined at least $100. The minor's driver's license will also be suspended for a period of 90 days.

Source: Minn. Stat. § 340A.503, Minn. Stat. § 171.171

Mississippi Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 years of age who purchases, receives, or possesses an alcohol beverage is guilty of a misdemeanor. The minor will be fined $200-$500. The guilty minor may also be subject to community service requirements. The court may also suspend the minor's driver's license up to 90 days for the first offense.

Source: Miss. Code Ann. § 67-1-81

Missouri Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 years of age who is found to purchase, attempt to purchase, or have possession of alcohol is guilty of a misdemeanor. For the first violation, there is a fine up to $300. The minor may also have his or her driving privileges suspended.

Source: § 311.325 R.S.Mo., § 577.500 R.S.Mo.

Montana Underage Drinking Law

A person over the age of 18 that is convicted of underage possession of an alcoholic beverage on the first offense will be fined $100-$300. The minor can also be ordered to perform 20 hours of community service and will be ordered to complete and pay all costs of participation in a community based substance abuse information course.

Source: Mont. Code Anno., § 45-5-624

Nebraska Underage Drinking Law

An individual under 21 years of age may not purchase, consume, or possess alcohol. A minor found guilty may be subject to a fine and possible loss of driving privileges.

Source: R.R.S. Neb. § 53-180.02

Nevada Underage Drinking Law

Any person who is under 21 years of age who purchases or consumes alcohol shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. The minor's driving privileges may also be suspended. The license can be suspended for 90 days to two years.

Source: NRS 202.020, Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 62E.630

New Hampshire Underage Drinking Law

Any person who is under 21 years old who is intoxicated or has possession of alcohol and is found guilty will be fined at least $300. Any subsequent offense will be fined at least $600. The minor may also face a suspension of their driving privileges from 90 days to one year.

Source: RSA 263:56-b..... 179:10

New Jersey Underage Drinking Law

A person under the age of 21 years old who knowingly possesses alcohol will be fined at least $500. The minor may also have his or her driving privileges suspended for six months. In addition the court may also require the minor to participate in an alcohol education program.

Source: 2c:33-15 possession. N.J. Stat. § 33:1-81

New Mexico Underage Drinking Law

A minor under 21 years of age shall not attempt to buy, possess, or be served alcohol. If found guilty, the minor can be fined up to $1,000 and be ordered to perform 30 hours of community service. There is also a possibility that the minor's driving privileges will be suspended for 90 days.

Source: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 60-7B-1

New York Underage Drinking Law

Any person who unlawfully possesses an alcoholic beverage with intent to consume may be fined up to $50 and/or be required to complete an alcohol awareness program and/or be assigned up to 30 hours of community service.

Source: NY CLS Al Bev § 65-c... Check section 19.25 of mental hygiene law

North Carolina Underage Drinking Law

A person under the age of 21 is prohibited from attempting to purchase or consume an alcoholic beverage. Once convicted, report will be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Division will revoke the minor's driver's license.

Source: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 18B-302, Mv revoke drivers license required GS 20-17.3

North Dakota Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 who attempts to purchase or consume alcohol is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. The court may refer the minor to an outpatient addiction facility for consultation and counseling or treatment. The court may also sentence the violator to an alcohol and drug education program.

Source: N.D. Cent. Code, § 5-01-08

Ohio Underage Drinking Law

No person under the age of 21 shall attempt to purchase, possess, or consume any alcohol in a public or private location. If in violation of the alcohol provision, a minor is guilty of a 1st degree misdemeanor. The minor may be subject to a fine and loss of driving privileges upon conviction.

Source: ORC Ann. 4301.69 (E)(1), ORC Ann. 4301.99

Oklahoma Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 found guilty of possession or consumption of alcohol will be fined up to $300 and/or ordered to perform up to 30 hours of community service. If that person has an Oklahoma driver's license, that license will be revoked. If a minor is found guilty of a second offense, the minor will be fined up to $600, assigned up to 60 hours of community service, and have his or her driver's license revoked.

Source: 37 Okl. St. § 246

Oregon Underage Drinking Law

A person found guilty of underage alcohol consumption or possession may be required to perform community service. The minor's driver's license (or right to apply for a driver's license) will be suspended up to one year.

Source: ORS § 471.430

Pennsylvania Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 who attempts to purchase, consume, or possess alcohol will be fined up to $500 on the first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. The minor's driver's license may also be suspended for up to 90 days for the first offense and up to one year for the second offense.

Source: 18 Pa.C.S. § 6310.4, 18 Pa.C.S. § 6308

Rhode Island Underage Drinking Law

Any person under 21 years of age possessing alcohol will be fined $150-$750 for the first offense, $300-$750 for the second offense, and $450-$900 for the third offense. In addition, the minor will also be required to perform 30 hours of community service with a minimum 60 day driver's license suspension.

Source: R.I. Gen. Laws § 3-8-10

South Carolina Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 years of age possessing, consuming, or attempting to purchase alcohol will be fined $100-$200 and/or imprisoned up to 30 days. The minor must also successfully complete a Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services-approved alcohol prevention education program. The program must be a minimum of eight hours and cost the minor less than $150. The minor's driving privileges can also be suspended for a period of 120 days for the first offense and up to one year for each subsequent offense.

Source: S.C. Code Ann. § 63-19-2450, S.C. Code Ann. § 56-1-746

South Dakota Underage Drinking Law

Purchasing, possessing or consuming an alcoholic beverage while under the age of 21 is a Class 2 misdemeanor. The minor may face a fine or a driver's license suspension. For the first offense, the minor may have his or her driving privileges suspended for 30 days to one year.

Source: S.D. Codified Laws § 35-9-7, S.D. Codified Laws § 35-9-2

Tennessee Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 years old to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages. A minor found in violation can be subject to a fine and loss of driving privileges.

Source: Tenn. Code Ann. § 1-3-113, Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-3-412

Texas Underage Drinking Law

If a person under 21 years of age is found guilty of an alcohol violation, that person shall be fined. In addition, he or she may be assigned 8-12 hours of community service. The court will also order the Department of Public Safety to suspend the minor's driver's license or permit for 30 days for the first offense, 60 days for the second offense, and 180 days for each subsequent offense.

Source: Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 106.04, Tex. Alco. Bev. Code § 106.071

Utah Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 years of age is prohibited from consuming or attempting to purchase alcohol. If found in violation, the minor's driver's license will be suspended for up to one year. The minor may also have to participate in an alcohol related education program.

Source: Utah Code Ann. § 53-3-219, 41-6a-501, Utah Code Ann. § 32B-4-409

Vermont Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for a person under 21 years of age to possess, consume, or attempt to purchase alcohol. A minor in violation may be fined up to $600. For multiple violations, the minor may lose driving privileges for a period of time as well as be required to attend an alcohol and driving program.

Source: 7 V.S.A. § 657

Virginia Underage Drinking Law

No person under 21 years of age shall possess, consume, or attempt to buy alcohol. If found guilty, the minor may be required to pay a mandatory minimum fine of $500 or be ordered to perform at least 50 hours of community service. The minor's license to operate a motor vehicle will be suspended for six months to one year.

Source: Va. Code Ann. § 4.1-305

Washington Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 found possessing, consuming or attempting to buy alcohol shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. An minor in violation may be subject to a suspension of driving privileges. That minor may also be subject to a minimum fine of $250 and be required to perform a minimum of 24 hours of community service.

Source: Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 66.44.270, Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 66.44.365, Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 66.44.290

Washington DC Underage Drinking Law

It is unlawful for any person under the age of 21 to purchase, attempt to purchase, possess or consume alcoholic beverages. Any violation shall constitute a misdemeanor. The first violation has a penalty of not more than $300 dollars and suspension of driving privileges for 90 days. A second violation carries a fine of not more than $600 and suspension of driving privileges for 180. A third violation has a penalty of up to $1000 and suspension of driving privileges for one year.

Source: D.C. Code § 25-1002

West Virginia Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 years of age possessing, consuming or attempting to purchase alcohol is fined up to $500. A minor in violation can also be placed on probation for up to one year.

Source: W. Va. Code § 11-16-19

Wisconsin Underage Drinking Law

A person under the age of 21 is prohibited from purchasing, attempting to purchase, possessing, or consuming alcohol. A minor convicted of this offense will be subject to a fine, community service requirements, and a suspension of driving privileges up to 90 days.

Source: Wis. Stat. § 125.07, Wis. Stat. § 343.30

Wyoming Underage Drinking Law

A person under 21 years of age is prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol. A minor in violation is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the minor is subject to possible fines and loss of driving privileges.

Source: Wyo. Stat. § 31-7-128, Wyo. Stat. § 12-6-101
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