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State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws

- Arkansas -

Underage Drinking: Internal Possession by Minors

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

Although Arkansas previously prohibited alcohol in the body of a minor from being deemed to be in his or her possession, beginning on July 27, 2011, Arkansas law has provided that intoxicating liquor, wine, or beer in the body of a minor will be deemed to be in his or her possession. See Ark. Code Ann. § 3-3-203(a)(2). Laws that prohibit minors from having alcohol in their bodies, but which do so without reference to a blood, breath, or urine test, are not considered as prohibiting Internal Possession as defined by APIS.

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

Arkansas' statute regarding furnishing alcohol to any person under 21 years old includes an exception for "family" members, but does not specify which family members. APIS interprets the phrase “family” as including a spouse.

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

Beer: 19 for servers and 21 for bartenders
Wine: 19 for servers and 21 for bartenders
Spirits: 19 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Underage Drinking: False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • No driver's license suspension 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
  • No statutory affirmative defense - statutes do not provide an affirmative defense related to retailer's belief that the minor was 21 years of age or older
  • Retailer has the authority to detain a minor suspected of using a false ID in connection with the purchase of alcohol

In Arkansas, the prohibition against attempted use of a false ID for purchasing alcoholic beverages applies to persons less than 21 years of age. Prior to July 31, 2007, the denial of driving privileges as a penalty for violating this prohibition only applied to persons less than 18 years of age. This denial is through a judicial process. Beginning on July 31, 2007, Arkansas added an administrative suspension process for those between 18 to 21 years of age to whom the judicial process does not apply.

Under Ark. Code Ann. § 5-27-503(b), a seller's detention of a person under 21 for use of false identification "shall not include a physical detention."

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: a liquid capacity of more than five gallons


  • possessing an unregistered, unlabeled keg - max. fine/jail: $1000 / 90 days
  • destroying the label on a keg - max. fine/jail: $1000 / 90 days

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address
  • verified by a government-issued ID
  • Warning information to purchaser: active – purchaser action required (e.g., signature)

    Deposit required: $75

    Provisions do not specifically address disposable kegs

    Underage Drinking: Use/Lose: Driving Privileges

    Arkansas has two Use/Lose laws:

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

      • Underage purchase
      • Underage possession

      Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 18

      Authority to impose driver's license sanction

      • discretionary

      Length of suspension/revocation:

      • Minimum: 0 days
      • Maximum: Not Specified

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

      • Underage purchase
      • Underage possession

      Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

      Authority to impose driver's license sanction

      • mandatory

      Length of suspension/revocation: 60 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: Consumption

    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


    • Family

    Arkansas's social host provision applies only to a person who is present and in control of the private property at the time the consumption occurs.

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