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State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws

- Massachusetts -

Underage Drinking: Underage Possession of Alcohol

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian

Underage Drinking: Underage Purchase of Alcohol

Purchase is prohibited and there is NO ALLOWANCE for youth purchase for law enforcement purposes.

Underage Drinking: Furnishing Alcohol to Minors

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

Underage Drinking: Minimum Ages for On-Premises Servers and Bartenders

Beer: 18 for both servers and bartenders
Wine: 18 for both servers and bartenders
Spirits: 18 for both servers and bartenders

Underage Drinking: False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • Penalty may include driver's license suspension through a judicial procedure

Provision(s) targeting suppliers:

  • It is a criminal offense to lend, transfer, or sell a false ID
  • It is a criminal offense to manufacture or distribute a false ID

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits: Youth (Underage Operators of Noncommercial Motor Vehicles)
BAC limit: 0.02 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Retail Sales: Keg Registration

Keg definition: more than 2 gallons

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address
  • Warning information to purchaser: active – purchaser action required (e.g., signature)

    Deposit required: $5

    Provisions do not specifically address disposable kegs

    Notes:
    The deposit provisions in Massachusetts require that a purchaser pay the following: (a) a container fee of not less than $10.00 for each keg having a capacity of six or more gallons and of not less than $1.00 for each container having a capacity of less than six gallons; and (b) a registration fee of $10.00 for each keg having a capacity of six or more gallons and of $4.00 for each keg having a capacity of less than six gallons. The comparison tables display the minimum required amount.

    Underage Drinking: Use/Lose: Driving Privileges

    Massachusetts has two Use/Lose laws:

    1. Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

      • Underage possession

      Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

      Authority to impose driver's license sanction

      • mandatory

      Length of suspension/revocation: 90 days

    2. Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

      • Underage purchase

      Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

      Authority to impose driver's license sanction

      • mandatory

      Length of suspension/revocation: 180 days

    Underage Drinking: Prohibitions Against Hosting Underage Drinking Parties

    Social host law is not specifically limited to underage drinking parties.

    Action by underage guest that triggers violation: Possession

    Property type(s) covered by liability law:

    • Residence
    • Outdoor
    • Other

    Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: KNOWLEDGE - host must have actual knowledge of the occurrence

    Exception(s):

    • Family

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services USA.gov - Government Made Easy