Selling and Supplying Alcohol to Minors (2022)

All states make it a crime to sell or supply an underage person with alcohol, even when no money is involved.

It's no secret to every teenager and young adult that you have to be 21 before you can legally drink, buy, or own alcohol. You also can't sell or provide alcohol to an underage person. Anyone who sells or provides alcohol to a minor commits a crime regardless of the state, though state laws differ widely in their details.

This article will discuss the penalties for selling or providing alcohol to a minor. The term "minor" can be a bit misleading, as it typically refers to anyone younger than 18. But for liquor laws, minors include anyone younger than the legal drinking age of 21.

Selling, Providing, or Supplying Alcohol to a Minor

State laws prohibit selling or furnishing alcohol to minors. Some states use the terms provide or supply. No matter what terms are used, these laws prohibit any form of furnishing, giving, or providing liquor to minors, including when no money changes hands.

(Video) How To Beat A Selling Alcohol To A Minor Case: A Former Prosecutor Breaks It Down! (2021)

What Does It Mean to Supply Alcohol to a Minor?

Selling alcohol is pretty straightforward. But what does it mean to supply or furnish alcohol to a minor? A wide range of actions actually. For instance, you supply alcohol by:

  • allowing an underage person to be in a home (such as a house party) where there is alcohol and not restricting access to it
  • placing an alcoholic beverage near an underage person with the intent that they drink it, or
  • buying alcohol and placing it in the underage person's vehicle.

You don't have to specifically hand over the alcohol or give it directly to the underage person to be convicted of supplying alcohol to a minor.

Intentionally or Knowingly Supplying Alcohol to a Minor

While knowingly supplying a minor with alcohol does not have to involve money or overtly giving the alcohol to the underage person, the law does require that the accused knowingly provides the alcohol. This means that the accused intended to give the alcohol, or intended that his or her actions result in the underage person acquiring alcohol.

Courts have held, for example, that you cannot be convicted of supplying alcohol to a minor if you are simply indifferent to an underage person drinking. Similarly, if you are a property owner and you grant your permission to have a party on that property knowing that underage people may be there, that is not enough to show that you intended to provide underage people with alcohol.

(Video) Supplying Alcohol to Minors

No Business or Liquor License Required

The laws prohibiting supplying alcohol to minors apply to everyone, not just establishments that serve or sell alcohol. Courts have broadly applied these laws to include any act of providing alcohol to underage people, even when the person supplying the alcohol is another underage person.

Is It a Crime to Sell Alcohol to a Minor With a Fake ID?

It can be. In many situations, minors might try to obtain liquor by using fake IDs, lying about their age, or through other methods of appearing older than they are. States approach this situation very differently.

In some states, the law requires the seller to take specific steps, such as inspecting a buyer's identification and even requiring the buyer to fill out a declaration of age. As long as the seller takes this step and still sells alcohol to a minor, sellers can avoid a conviction by showing they took all the required steps. However, in other states, selling to a minor is a strict liability offense. This means that if a seller sold alcohol to a minor, it doesn't matter what steps the seller took, as any sale to a minor is prohibited. Still other states allow a mistake about the buyer's age to factor into a court's decision when it determines what sentence is appropriate.

Can Parents and Legal Guardians Provide Alcohol to Minors?

While some states prohibit anyone from providing alcohol to a minor, others provide an exception for parents or legal guardians. In states with a parental exception, parents or legal guardians can provide an underage person alcohol in a home environment as long as the parent or guardian is present at the time. Similar exceptions are also made for alcohol used in religious ceremonies or for medicinal purposes.

(Video) Selling alcohol to minors

What Are the Penalties for Selling or Supplying Alcohol to a Minor?

Most states punish the sale or furnishing of alcohol to minors as a misdemeanor. However, state laws on alcohol sales to minors differ significantly, and the potential penalties involved can be very different between one state and another. Felony penalties might apply if a defendant is a repeat offender or if the minor was seriously injured or killed as a result of the illegal supplying or selling of alcohol. Anyone convicted of selling or providing alcohol to a minor usually faces a range of penalties.

Jail or Prison Time

Misdemeanor offenses are defined as those that have a potential penalty of up to one year in a local jail. Not all convictions result in the maximum possible sentence. Providing alcohol to an underage person may result in a jail sentence of a few days or a few months or no jail at all.

Felony-level offenses carry the possibility of prison time, usually with maximum sentences of one to five years. The circumstances of the case and state law will determine what sentences are appropriate.

Probation

In lieu of, or in addition to, a jail or prison sentence, a court may impose a probation sentence for a conviction of selling or supplying alcohol to a minor. Probation terms typically last six to 12 months for misdemeanors, though they can be longer. Felony probation may last years. Defendants on probation must usually regularly report to a probation officer and meet other specific requirements as imposed by the court. Failing to comply with any requirement may result in a court ordering the convicted person to jail or prison.

(Video) Defenses to furnishing alcohol to a minor -- How to beat the charges

Fines

Like jail sentences, fines for selling or supplying alcohol to a minor differ depending on the severity of the crime and the state in which you live, though fines can be steep for either. A misdemeanor conviction for supplying alcohol to an underage person can result in fines up to $5,000, though fines of $500 to $1,000 are more common. Felony fines tend to be much higher and can exceed $50,000.

Liquor License Suspension or Revocation

Establishments and organizations that sell alcohol must have a state liquor license. When licensed organizations sell alcohol to minors, either intentionally or unintentionally, they may lose their liquor license. The state liquor administrative agency can suspend a licensee's liquor license, or even revoke it if there have been repeated violations. A licensed retailer may also be subject to other penalties, such as administrative fines for each violation that occurred.

Talk to a Lawyer

Criminal charges for supplying or selling alcohol to minors are serious, especially if your business depends on a liquor license or someone has been injured because of the minor's actions after consuming the alcohol. Even if you're being charged with a first offense, it's in your best interests to speak to a criminal defense attorney before you speak to the police, prosecutors, or anyone else. A criminal defense attorney not only knows how to protect your legal rights but also has personal experience with the local courts and prosecutors. You want a good attorney on your side so you can be protected at every stage of the criminal justice process.

FAQs

Selling and Supplying Alcohol to Minors? ›

Individuals who sell or supply alcohol to a minor can face a wide range of consequences, including fines or probation. In some states, defendants may also face jail time of up to a year. Businesses that are caught selling to minors may face the prospect of having their liquor licenses revoked.

What happens if you sell alcohol to a minor in Virginia? ›

Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

It is illegal in Virginia for an adult to sell alcohol to a minor. (Virginia Ann. Code Section 4.1-304.) A violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $2,500, up to one year in jail, or both (as decided by the judge).

What happens if you sell alcohol to a minor in California? ›

In California, it is a misdemeanor offense to sell or furnish alcohol to a minor (someone under the state legal drinking age of 21). Penalties typically include $250 to $1000 in fines and 24 to 32 hours of community service.

What is the penalty for selling alcohol to a minor in Michigan? ›

According to Michigan law, it is a crime for any person to sell or furnish alcohol to a minor. Possible penalties include a $1,000 fine and up to 60 days in jail for a first time conviction.

What happens if you sell alcohol to a minor in NZ? ›

Unless you're certain you have permission from a minor's parent or legal guardian, don't give alcohol to anyone under 18. There's a penalty of up to $2000 for breaching the law.

Can parents give alcohol to minors in Virginia? ›

Va. Code Ann. § 4.1-305. Second, Virginia permits underage possession when an alcoholic beverage is provided to an underage guest in a private residence and the underage guest is "accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is twenty-one years of age or older." Va.

Can you pour beer at 18 in Virginia? ›

However, a person who is 18 years of age or older may sell or serve beer for on-premises consumption at a counter in an establishment that sells beer only, or may sell or serve wine for on-premises consumption in an establishment that sells wine only. §§ 4.1-103 and 4.1-111 of the Code of Virginia.

Is it legal for a parent to give a child alcohol in California? ›

What is the Penalty for Giving Alcohol to a Minor in California? Selling, giving, or providing alcohol to a minor is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a mandatory $250 fine and/or 24-32 hours of community service.

When selling alcohol a minor is defined as? ›

When selling alcohol, a minor is defined as: A person under the age of 21.

What is the penalty for selling alcohol without a Licence in California? ›

Penalty: First Offense: Fine of $250.00 or 24–32 hours of community service. California Business & Professions Code, Section 26665. – It is illegal for anyone under age 21 to enter or stay in a place licensed to sell liquor without a lawful reason to be there.

Can you sell beer to a minor who is accompanied by a parent in Michigan? ›

Not necessarily, MCL 750.141, Section 141 of the Michigan Penal code states that a minor child under 17 years of age shall not be permitted to remain in a dance hall, saloon, barroom or any place where spirituous or intoxicating liquor, wine or beer ...is sold unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Can a parent buy alcohol for their child in Michigan? ›

In Michigan, those who supply alcohol to minors face serious penalties no matter if they are a parent, older sibling, aunt/uncle, acquaintance, or a stranger off the street who agrees to buy the alcohol for a fee.

Is it legal to give your child alcohol in Michigan? ›

A minor in Michigan may not purchase, consume, or possess alcoholic liquor—or attempt to do so—with few exceptions. This law is often referred to as minor in possession or MIP and applies to those younger than 21. (Mich. Comp.

Can my mom buy me a drink at a restaurant? ›

on alcohol-selling premises, with parental approval: In some states, underage consumption of alcohol is allowed on an alcohol-selling premise, such as a restaurant or a bar, if the alcohol is furnished to the minor by a legal guardian and if the minor is in the presence of his or her legal guardian.

Can parents buy alcohol for minors NZ? ›

It is illegal to supply alcohol to someone under the age of 18 years unless: the person supplying the alcohol is the parent or legal guardian and the alcohol is supplied in a responsible manner, or.

Are 17 year olds allowed in pubs NZ? ›

If you are under 18 years old and not with a legal parent or guardian you can't: drink in a public space. go into pubs and bars.

Can you transport alcohol under 21 in VA? ›

In Virginia, it is illegal for a person under age 21 to purchase, possess or even attempt to purchase alcohol. The limited exception to this law includes the consumption of alcohol by a minor while on private property that does not sell alcohol and with consent of a legal guardian.

Is it legal to drink with your parents? ›

Though it is an offence to purchase alcohol for those under the age of 18, it is not an offence for the teenager to accept a drink/have a drink in someone's home, so within a private residence, but only if they have permission from their parent/guardian.

Can parents let you drink? ›

Underage Drinking: Underage Possession of Alcohol

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S): private location. OR parent/guardian.

Why are there no bars in Virginia? ›

No, really — there is no such thing as a bar in Virginia. As a very deliberate result of the Virginia ABC Board's regulations on the food/alcohol ratio, there are only restaurants that happen to serve food.

How old do you have to be to sit at a bar in Virginia? ›

Are people under 21 years of age allowed to sit at the bar? There is no Virginia ABC law prohibiting a person less than 21 years of age from sitting at a counter/bar in an ABC-licensed restaurant. However, a licensee may establish its own in-house policy prohibiting it.

Why do bartenders open your cans? ›

Not many people have a corkscrew in their back pocket! But why do bartenders open your beer? Opening your beer is part of the hospitality provided by the bar or restaurant and it's also safer if the bartender opens the bottle or can of beer for you.

Can a minor sit at a bar in a restaurant in California? ›

Section 25665 of the California Alcoholic Beverage Control statute states that minors are not allowed to enter or remain within a bar. Persons under 21 years of age may not enter and remain in any premises with a green-colored ABC license except on lawful business.

Can you give away free alcohol in California? ›

Giving away free beer to bar patrons is illegal, a California appeals court has ruled, striking down a common promotional tactic by the nation's largest beer makers. The ruling effectively ends a popular practice by beer makers that purchase their own products in neighborhood bars and give them to patrons.

What is the ABC law in California? ›

The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is an agency of the government of the state of California charged with regulation of alcoholic beverages. The ABC was created by constitutional amendment effective January 1, 1955, as an independent department of the executive branch of the state government.

What is the maximum fine for selling alcoholic beverages to a minor with criminal negligence in Texas? ›

Providing Alcohol to a Minor

Adults and minors who give alcohol to a minor also face stiff penalties. This includes the following: 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.

What happens if you get caught serving a minor in Texas? ›

Penalties – Jail and Fine

Sale to Minors is a Class A misdemeanor that can result up to one year in jail and/or up to a $4000 fine .

What is the rationale for the prohibition of sale of alcohol to minors? ›

The ban on underage drinking is an age-specific prohibition, implying that the aim is to delay alcohol use, not to condemn it or inoculate against it. For this reason, the prohibition is distinctly instrumental in nature and is not grounded in the moral disapproval that characterizes many legal prohibitions.

Can you serve free alcohol without a liquor license in California? ›

A law has gone into effect in California that allows beauty salons to serve alcohol without getting a liquor license, and those drinks are free.

Do you need a liquor license to serve alcohol at private party in California? ›

Currentlyunder the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Act to you do not need a license to serve alcohol if you're hosting a private party that meets the following requirements: You don't charge for or sell the alcohol you serve. Your party is not open to the general public at the time you serve the alcohol.

Can bartenders drink while working in California? ›

Drinking Behind the Bar

In some states, it is illegal for a bartender to drink any alcohol while working. This includes any drinks bought for them by bar patrons. However, other states, such as California, leave the decision up to the bar management whether or not to permit bartenders to drink on the job.

Can a child sit at a bar in Michigan? ›

Not necessarily, MCL 750.141, Section 141 of the Michigan Penal code states that a minor child under 17 years of age shall not be permitted to remain in a dance hall, saloon, barroom or any place where spirituous or intoxicating liquor, wine or beer ...is sold unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Can a bartender drink while working in Michigan? ›

In most professions, drinking at work would not only be highly frowned upon, but would most likely lead to you being fired. Bartending though, is often the exception to the rule. Bartenders are not only allowed to drink while on the job, but may be encouraged to.

Can you serve alcohol at 17 in Michigan? ›

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed House Bill 4232 on Tuesday, which allows 17-year-old waitstaff in restaurants to serve alcohol. The legal age to consume alcohol remains 21 and older.

What's the youngest legal drinking age in the world? ›

In fact, 64 percent of the world's nations have legal drinking ages of 18. The youngest legal drinking age in the world is 15, with both Mali and the Central African Republic allowing folks to drink at that time.

Can your parents buy you alcohol at a restaurant in Ohio? ›

Therefore, in addition to permitting supervised drinking in a private residence, Ohio law also allows parents to order alcoholic beverages for children at restaurants or bars -- as long as the parents remain with the children while the drinks are consumed.

Which US states can you drink at 18? ›

Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.: The legal drinking age is 18 for beer and wine, and 21 for liquor. Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota: The legal drinking age is 18 for 3.2% ABV beer, and 21 for beer stronger than 3.2% ABV, wine, and liquor.

Is underage drinking a felony in Michigan? ›

Penalties for a First Offense Underage Drinking in Michigan

MIP first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100.00 and community service.

Can a 15 year old drink alcohol in a restaurant? ›

16- and 17-year-olds

Someone aged 16 or 17 and accompanied by an adult, can drink (but not buy) beer, wine or cider with a meal at a licensed premises (except in Northern Ireland). But it's illegal for people this age to drink spirits in a pub anywhere in the UK, even with a meal.

Can a 16 year old order alcohol in a restaurant? ›

I worked in a restaurant for several years and our licencing did not permit us to serve alcohol to anyone under 18 irregardless of who they were dining with. as above. Legally the 18 year old can buy alcohol and the 17 year old can drink it in a pub or restaurant with a meal.

Can minors drink with parents at bars in Texas? ›

In Texas, a minor may consume an alcoholic beverage if it is in the visible presence of the minor's adult parent, guardian or spouse. Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited. Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.

Can you drink in America at 18 if your British? ›

In the United States, one must be at least 21 years of age or older to purchase or consume alcoholic beverages (with very few exceptions in some jurisdictions). Surprisingly, this is one of the highest drinking ages in the world.

What is the fine for selling alcohol to a minor in NZ? ›

The law applies to everyone, regardless of their age, who supplies alcohol to a young person. Unless you're certain you have permission from a minor's parent or legal guardian, don't give alcohol to anyone under 18. There's a penalty of up to $2000 for breaching the law.

Can you drink at 16 with parental consent NZ? ›

A The only person that can give express consent for an under-18 to drink alcohol is their parent or legal guardian. A person is only considered a legal guardian if he or she is recognised as a guardian under the Care of Children Act 2004.

Can under 18s drink alcohol in a pub? ›

The law allows for people under 18 to drink "beer, cider and perry" whilst eating a "meal". The youngster must be seated in an area dedicated to the service and consumption of food. Modern ways have changed how people eat in pubs and so many pubs no loger have a dedicated food area.

When selling alcohol a minor is defined as? ›

When selling alcohol, a minor is defined as: A person under the age of 21.

Which is considered to be an administrative penalty that may be imposed by the ABC? ›

(a) The penalty guideline for an ABC licensee in violation of Business and Professions code § 25683 is a 10-day suspension. (3) any prior warnings given to the ABC licensee regarding alcohol server certification requirements under the RBSTPA.

What is the rationale for the prohibition of sale of alcohol to minors? ›

The ban on underage drinking is an age-specific prohibition, implying that the aim is to delay alcohol use, not to condemn it or inoculate against it. For this reason, the prohibition is distinctly instrumental in nature and is not grounded in the moral disapproval that characterizes many legal prohibitions.

What is the maximum fine for selling alcohol to a minor in Texas? ›

A person purchasing or furnishing an alcoholic beverage to a minor can be punished by a fine up to $2,000.00 and/or confinement in jail up to 80 days. A person selling an alcoholic beverage to a minor can be punished by a fine up to $4,000.00 and/or confinement in jail up to one year.

What happens if you get caught serving a minor in Texas? ›

Penalties – Jail and Fine

Sale to Minors is a Class A misdemeanor that can result up to one year in jail and/or up to a $4000 fine .

How long after selling an alcoholic beverage to a minor must a certificate holder be recertified for a first offense? ›

(1) If the holder of a Seller Server Certificate sells or serves an alcoholic beverage to a minor or intoxicated person, the certificate holder must be recertified within 30 days of the violation.

Can an 18 year old sell alcohol in California? ›

Employment of Minors. Except as provided in subdivision (c), no licensee that sells or serves alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises shall employ any person under 21 years of age for the purpose of preparing or serving alcoholic beverages.

Which of these can be administrative penalties against an ABC licensee? ›

The liability of licensees and their employees falls into three areas of law: criminal, administrative, and civil.
...
Types of Liability.
Type of LiabilityArenaPenalty
AdministrativeABCFine, Suspension, Revocation
CivilLawsuitMoney Judgment
1 more row

What penalties may be applied for serving alcohol to a customer who is under 21 select all that apply? ›

Penalty Schedule
  • Sales of alcoholic beverages to person(s) under 21 – 15 day suspension.
  • Permitting person(s) under 21 to consume – 15 day suspension.
  • Furnishing or causing to be furnished alcoholic beverages to person(s) under 21 – 15 day suspension.
  • 2nd violation of Section 25658 with in 36 months – 25 day suspension.

Can I serve free alcohol at my Business in California? ›

Jerry Brown in 2016. The law allows salons and barber shops to serve free beer and wine without a license, as long as the drinker is of age and getting a beauty service.

How is underage drinking prevented? ›

Work to change community attitudes about underage drinking. Focus as much community attention on underage drinking as on tobacco and drug use. Work with State, Tribal, and local groups to reduce underage drinking. Make it easier for young people who are involved with or at risk for underage drinking to get help.

Why should the drinking age be lowered to 18? ›

Statistically, fewer drunk driving accidents and deaths occur in countries with a minimum legal drinking age of 18. In the United States, 31% of car accidents result from driving under the influence, or DUI, the third-highest rate in the world.

Why Should drinking age be lowered? ›

Lowering MLDA 21 would give high schoolers and even middle schoolers easier access to alcohol. MLDA 21 helps prevent underage binge drinking. MLDA 21 exerts valuable social pressure on potential underage drinkers and those who may serve them.

How serious is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas? ›

Texas Misdemeanor Penalties

Class A Misdemeanor: Penalties include a fine of no more than $4,000 and/or up to 1 year in a county jail. Examples of Class A misdemeanors include burglary of a vehicle, theft of property valued at $750 but less than $2,500.

When can you sell alcohol to a minor in Texas? ›

Selling Alcohol to A Minor

According to Section 106.03 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code, for the purposes of alcohol sales, a minor is a person who is under the age of 21. Selling alcohol to a minor under any circumstances is illegal and may result in criminal charges being filed.

Can you give a minor alcohol in Texas? ›

In Texas, a minor may consume an alcoholic beverage if it is in the visible presence of the minor's adult parent, guardian or spouse. Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited. Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.

Videos

1. Homeowner charged with supplying alcohol to minors
(WANE 15 News)
2. Selling Alcohol To Minors
(Tyler McAlexander)
3. Owner caught selling alcohol to minor
(KRQE)
4. Can Minors Serve Alcohol and Work in Businesses That Sell Alcohol?
(ABC Service)
5. Don't Sell Alcohol To Minors
(Sandi Pineda)
6. Case Result! Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor
(Robert Gouveia Esq.)

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