Underage Drinking

False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol

Laws prohibiting the use of false identification by minors to obtain alcohol.

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Search policies as of this date:
Jurisdiction Policies as of Provisions That
Target Minors
Provisions That
Target Suppliers
Retailer Support Provisions Citations
Use of
False ID
Produce Scanner Distinctive
of ID
Right to
Sue Minor
of Minor
Alabama (3005)
1/1/2020YesJudicial       2 Citations
Alaska (3006)
1/1/2020YesAdmin   Yes GeneralYes 8 Citations
Arizona (3058)
1/1/2020YesBoth  YesYes Specific  8 Citations
Arkansas (3008)

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."

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.

1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes Yes  Yes5 Citations
California (3009)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYes  YesYesSpecific  9 Citations
Colorado (3010)

In Colorado, the license revocation period for a first conviction of obtaining or attempting to obtain an alcoholic beverage by misrepresentation of age is twenty-four hours of public service, if ordered by the court, or three months.

1/1/2020YesJudicialYes  YesYesSpecific Yes6 Citations
Connecticut (3011)
1/1/2020YesJudicial  YesYes Specific  9 Citations
Delaware (3012)

Although Del. Admin. Code § 2 2000 2215 states that "persons under 21 years of age have noted on their licenses 'Under 21,'" research revealed no Delaware statute or regulation expressly requiring distinguishing licenses for persons under 21 years of age. This requirement is probably the result of an uncodified administrative decision not published in the Code of Delaware Regulations. Because APIS research does not address administrative decisions or directives that are not included in a State's published regulatory codes, no check mark appears in the Distinguishing Licenses column for Delaware.

1/1/2020Yes     Specific  4 Citations
District of Columbia (3013)

The District of Columbia defines a "valid identification document" as “an official identification issued by an agency of government (local, state, federal, or foreign) containing, at a minimum, the name, date of birth, signature, and photograph of the bearer." See D.C. Code Ann. § 25-101(53). D.C. Code Ann. § 25-783(b) requires licensed establishments to “take steps reasonably necessary to ascertain” whether any person to whom an alcoholic beverages is served is of legal drinking age, and further provides that “[a]ny person who supplies a valid identification document showing his or her age to be the legal drinking age shall be deemed to be of legal drinking age.” APIS has interpreted the “reasonable steps” requirement as providing the retailer a defense for reasonable reliance on an apparently valid ID.

Section designations in the District of Columbia Code were renumbered in connection with the publication of the D.C. Official Code, 2001 Edition.

1/1/2020YesJudicial     Specific  4 Citations
Florida (3014)

Although the verbatim text of historical regulations is only available from January 1, 2003 forward, the published historical information for Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 61A-3.052 indicates that this regulation has been in force, unchanged, from February 28, 1994 to date.

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes Specific  4 Citations
Georgia (3015)

In Georgia, the prohibition against furnishing to a minor does not apply when a retailer has been provided with “proper identification,” defined as “any document issued by a governmental agency containing a description of the person, such person's photograph, or both, and giving such person's date of birth.” When a reasonable or prudent person could reasonably be in doubt as to whether a customer is of legal drinking age, the retailer has a duty to request to see and to be furnished with proper identification in order to verify the customer’s age, and the failure to make such request and verification in the case of an underage person may be considered by the trier of fact in determining whether the retailer furnishing the alcoholic beverage did so knowingly. See Ga. Code Ann. § 3-3-23(d), (h). APIS has interpreted the “reasonable or prudent person” requirement as providing the retailer a defense for reasonable reliance on an apparently valid ID.

1/1/2020Yes   YesYesSpecific  4 Citations
Hawaii (3016)

In Hawaii, the retailer has a defense to a charge of furnishing to a minor if, in making the sale or allowing the consumption of liquor by a minor, the retailer was misled by the appearance of the minor and the attending circumstances into honestly believing that the minor was of legal age, and if the retailer can prove that he or she acted in good faith.

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes General  6 Citations
Idaho (3017)

As of March 8, 2007, retailers are only required to deliver documents to law enforcement that have been lost or voluntarily surrendered; however, when presented with identification documents that appear to be mutilated, altered, or fraudulent, they must contact law enforcement and refuse service.

Although the verbatim text of historical regulations is only available from January 1, 2002 forward, the published historical information for Idaho Admin. Code § indicates that this regulation has been in force, unchanged, since March 31, 1995.

1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes Yes   5 Citations
Illinois (3018)
1/1/2020YesAdminYesYes Yes Specific  7 Citations
Indiana (3064)

A permittee may retain an apparently false ID card provided as proof of age, if the permittee has received alcohol server training.

1/1/2020YesYes  YesYesGeneral  9 Citations
Iowa (3020)
1/1/2020YesBoth   YesYesGeneral  8 Citations
Kansas (3021)
1/1/2020YesYes  Yes Specific  8 Citations
Kentucky (3022)
1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes Specific  5 Citations
Louisiana (3023)

In Louisiana, beginning January 1, 2000, and thereafter, special identification cards issued to applicants less than twenty-one years of age shall contain a highly visible distinctive color to clearly indicate that the card has been issued to an applicant less than twenty-one years of age. Special identification cards are to be accepted as valid identification of the person to whom it was issued but does not enable the person to whom it is issued to operate a motor vehicle. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1321.

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes Specific  5 Citations
Maine (3024)

In Maine, the Provisions Targeting Suppliers apply to acts prohibited by minors. The more general laws that address adults are not collected here as they are not, for APIS purposes, specific to the lending, transfer, sale, or production of false identification for a minor's obtaining alcoholic beverages.

1/1/2020YesJudicialYes  YesYes  8 Citations
Maryland (3025)

In Maryland, a licensee or employee of the licensee may not be found guilty of underage furnishing if the person establishes to the satisfaction of the jury or the court sitting as a jury that the person used due caution to establish that the person under 21 years of age was not, in fact, a person under 21 years of age if a nonresident of the State. This constitutes a general affirmative defense under APIS coding. In contrast, if the person is a resident of the State of Maryland, the licensee or employee of the licensee may accept, as proof of a person's age, the person's driver's license or identification card as provided for in the Maryland Vehicle Law. In addition, beginning October 1, 2006, the licensee or employee of the licensee may accept, as proof of a person's age, a United States military identification card. These are examples of a specific affirmative defense under APIS coding.

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes Specific  14 Citations
Massachusetts (3026)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes Yes Specific  4 Citations
Michigan (3027)

Prior to July 1, 2003, Michigan's operator's licenses and official state personal identification cards issued to a person who at the time of application was 20-1/2 years of age or less, indicated that the cardholder was less than 21 years of age. Although the authority of a retail licensee to confiscate an allegedly false identification is not explicit, the licensee shall present the alleged fraudulent identification to local law enforcement if it is in the possession of the licensee upon filing a police report concerning the violation. See also Affirmative Defense: Minor Not Charged in the Furnishing Alcohol to Minors policy topic.

1/1/2020YesJudicialYes  Yes Specific  8 Citations
Minnesota (3028)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYes  YesYesSpecific  5 Citations
Mississippi (3029)

Although it appears the Mississippi Department of Public Safety currently still issues distinctive licenses for persons under 21, no codified statute or regulation requiring the issuance of such licenses has been found to exist after December 31, 2004. APIS coding relies only on codified statutes and regulations and not on uncodified administrative decisions or directives, and therefore the check mark for Distinctive Licenses in Mississippi has been removed beginning on January 1, 2005.

1/1/2020YesJudicial     Specific  4 Citations
Missouri (3030)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes Yes Specific  8 Citations
Montana (3031)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes   Specific  5 Citations
Nebraska (3032)
1/1/2020Yes YesYesYes Specific  6 Citations
Nevada (3033)
1/1/2020YesYesYes Yes Specific  3 Citations
New Hampshire (3057)

In New Hampshire, the prohibition against the use of a false ID for purchasing alcoholic beverages applies to persons less than 21 years of age. Before January 1, 2003, the denial of driving privileges as a penalty for violating this prohibition only applied to persons less than 18 years of age. After January 1, 2003, the denial of driving privileges applies to those under 21 years of age.

1/1/2020YesJudicialYes  Yes SpecificYes 8 Citations
New Jersey (3035)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYes  Yes Specific  4 Citations
New Mexico (3036)
1/1/2020YesYes  Yes Specific  10 Citations
New York (3037)
1/1/2020YesJudicial  YesYes Specific  5 Citations
North Carolina (3038)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYes YesYesYesSpecific  7 Citations
North Dakota (3039)
1/1/2020Yes   YesYesSpecific  6 Citations
Ohio (3040)
1/1/2020YesAdminYesYesYesYes Specific  11 Citations
Oklahoma (3059)

Between July 1, 2006 and September 30, 2018, Oklahoma provides retailers a defense in criminal prosecutions for furnishing minors with "low-point beer" (defined as all beverages containing more than 0.5% alcohol by volume and not more than 3.2% alcohol by weight). The defense takes the form of a rebuttable presumption that the retailer reasonably relied upon proof of age if (1) the minor presented what a reasonable person would have believed was a driver license or other government-issued photo identification purporting to establish that the individual was 21 years of age or older; or (2) the retailer confirmed the validity of the driver license or other government-issued photo identification presented by the individual by using a transaction scan device; and (3) if the retailer exercised reasonable diligence to determine whether the physical description and picture on the driver license or other government-issued photo identification was that of the individual who presented it.

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes   5 Citations
Oregon (3042)
1/1/2020YesJudicial  Yes  SpecificYes 7 Citations
Pennsylvania (5110)
1/1/2020YesYesYesYes  Specific  7 Citations
Rhode Island (3044)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes YesYesSpecific  9 Citations
South Carolina (3045)

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

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes   6 Citations
South Dakota (3046)
1/1/2020YesJudicial     Specific Yes9 Citations
Tennessee (3047)

In Tennessee, APIS bases coding for the Specific Affirmative Defense afforded to retailers on Tenn. Code Ann. § 57-5-108. This statute provides that no permit or license shall be revoked on the grounds that the operator or any person working for the operator sells beer to a minor over the age of 18 years if such minor exhibits an identification, false or otherwise, indicating the minor's age to be 21 or over, if the minor's appearance as to maturity is such that the minor might reasonably be presumed to be of such age and is unknown to such person making the sale. As of July 1, 2006, it is also an affirmative defense to criminal prosecution if any person accused of giving or buying alcoholic beverages or beer for a minor acted upon a reasonably held belief that the minor was of legal age. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-15-404. APIS does not rely on this statute for coding of a General Affirmative Defense because § 57-5-108 applies more specifically to retailers.

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes Specific  9 Citations
Texas (3048)
1/1/2020YesJudicial  YesYes Specific  8 Citations
Utah (3061)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYes YesYesYesSpecificYesYes19 Citations
Vermont (3060)

Vermont has two statutes regarding affirmative defenses. First, under Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 7, § 658, an employee of a licensee or of a state-contracted liquor agency charged with underage furnishing may plead as an affirmative defense that the employee carefully viewed specified photographic identification, that an ordinary prudent person would believe the purchaser to be of legal age to make the purchase, and that the sale was made in good faith, based upon the reasonable belief that the purchaser was of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages. APIS has interpreted the "good faith" and "reasonable belief" requirement as providing the employee a defense for reasonable reliance on an apparently valid ID. Second, Vt. Stat. Ann. tit.7, § 602 provides that selling or furnishing to a person exhibiting "a valid authorized form of identification," which means a valid photographic operator's license, enhanced driver's license, or valid photographic nondriver identification card issued by Vermont or another state or foreign jurisdiction, a United States military identification card, or a valid passport or passport card bearing the photograph and signature of the individual is prima facie evidence of the licensee's compliance with the law prohibiting the sale or furnishing of alcoholic beverages to minors. The first provision amounts to a specific affirmative defense for state store employees and employees of retail licensees. The second provision applies to licensees and appears to provide them at least limited protection from prosecution, although the statutory language is unclear regarding how the provision is to be applied.

1/1/2020Yes   Yes Specific  8 Citations
Virginia (3051)

Virginia defines “bona fide evidence of legal age” as including any evidence that is or reasonably appears to be an unexpired driver's license issued by any state of the United States or the District of Columbia, military identification card, United States passport or foreign government visa, unexpired special identification card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, or any other valid government-issued identification card bearing the individual's photograph, signature, height, weight, and date of birth, or which bears a photograph that reasonably appears to match the appearance of the purchaser. A student identification card is not considered to be bona fide evidence of legal age. See 3 Va. Admin. Code § 5-50-20 and Va. Code Ann. § 4.1-304(B). In determining whether a licensee has reason to believe a purchaser is not of legal age, the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board considers whether an ordinary and prudent person would have reason to doubt that the purchaser is of legal age based on the general appearance, facial characteristics, behavior and manner of the purchaser, and whether the seller demanded, was shown and acted in good faith in reliance upon bona fide evidence of legal age that contained a photograph and physical description consistent with the appearance of the purchaser. See 3 Va. Admin. Code § 5-50-20(A). APIS has interpreted the “good faith reliance” requirement as providing the retailer a defense for reasonable reliance on an apparently valid ID.

1/1/2020YesJudicial   Yes Specific  6 Citations
Washington (3052)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes   Specific  10 Citations
West Virginia (3053)
1/1/2020YesAdmin  YesYes General  9 Citations
Wisconsin (3054)
1/1/2020YesJudicialYesYes YesYesSpecificYes 9 Citations
Wyoming (3055)
1/1/2020Yes   Yes Specific  2 Citations
United States (3004)

Please see the Federal Law page for this policy topic, on the About This Policy tab.