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State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws

- Iowa -

Underage Drinking: Underage Possession of Alcohol

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND parent/guardian

Underage Drinking: Underage Consumption of Alcohol

Consumption is not explicitly prohibited.

Iowa law does not specifically prohibit consumption of alcohol by persons under 21. Iowa does, however, have a general statute prohibiting the use or consumption of alcohol by any person in a public place. In addition, Iowa law provides that if a child, defined as a person under 18 years of age, is found to have violated the general prohibition against consumption of alcohol in a public place, the child's driver's license or operating privilege may be suspended or revoked for a period of one year. For more information, see Loss of Driving Privileges for Alcohol Violations by Minors ("Use/Lose" Laws).

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):

  • private residence
  • AND parent/guardian

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 or administrative procedure

Provision(s) targeting retailers:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Retailers are permitted to seize apparently false IDs
  • General affirmative defense - the retailer came to a good faith or reasonable decision that the purchaser was 21 years or older; inspection of an identification card not required

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: 5 or more


  • destroying the label on a keg - max. fine/jail: $625 / 30 days

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address
  • verified by a government-issued ID
  • Warning information to purchaser: passive – no purchaser action required

    Deposit required: $

    Provisions specifically address disposable kegs

    Underage Drinking: Use/Lose: Driving Privileges

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

    • Underage purchase
    • Underage consumption

    Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 18

    Authority to impose driver's license sanction

    • discretionary

    Length of suspension/revocation: 365 days

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