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State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws

- South Carolina -

Underage Drinking: Underage Possession of Alcohol

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian's home

Underage Drinking: Internal Possession by Minors

Internal possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian's home

Underage Drinking: Underage Purchase of Alcohol

Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.

Underage Drinking: Furnishing Alcohol to Minors

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

There is an affirmative defense if the minor is not charged.

South Carolina's Parent / Guardian and Spouse exceptions apply when the alcohol is furnished in the home of the spouse or in the home of the parent or guardian. See S.C. Code Ann. §§ 61-4-90, 61-6-4070 and 61-6-4075.

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

Beer: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders
Wine: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders
Spirits: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Underage Drinking: Minimum Ages for Off-Premises Sellers

Beer: Not Specified
Wine: Not Specified
Spirits: 21

Although no minimum age is specified to sell beer and wine at off-sale establishments licened to sell beer and wine, an employee of a retail liquor establishment must be at least 21 years of age.

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 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

See also Affirmative Defense: Minor Not Charged in the Furnishing Alcohol to Minors policy topic.

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 age 0 or above.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Retail Sales: Keg Registration

Keg definition: 5.16 or more gallons


  • possessing an unregistered, unlabeled keg - max. fine/jail: $500 / 30 days
  • destroying the label on a keg - max. fine/jail: $500 / 30 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: not required

    Provisions do not 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 possession
    • Underage consumption

    Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

    Authority to impose driver's license sanction

    • mandatory

    Length of suspension/revocation: 120 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 Consumption

    Property type(s) covered by liability law:

    • Other

    Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: OVERT ACT - host must have actual knowledge and commit an act that contributes to the occurrence

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