Underage Drinking

Possession/Consumption/Internal Possession of Alcohol

Laws that prohibit underage alcohol possession, consumption, or internal possession (see Definitions), together with various statutory exceptions to these laws.

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Changes Over Time for Possession/Consumption/Internal Possession of Alcohol
Jurisdiction Date Range Prohibition Exceptions
Family
Exceptions
Location
Citations
Type of
Behavior
Conduct is
Prohibited
Parent/Guardian Spouse In Any
Private
Location
In Private
Residence
In Parent/
Guardian's
Home Only
AR (Arkansas)

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.

1/1/1998 - 7/26/2011Internal PossessionNo     1 Citations
AR (Arkansas)

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.

7/27/2011 - 1/1/2017Internal Possession-     No Law
2 Citations
CT (Connecticut)
1/1/1998 - 9/30/2006PossessionYesYesYesYes  2 Citations
CT (Connecticut)
10/1/2006 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesYesYes   3 Citations
HI (Hawaii)
1/1/1998 - 6/18/2006Consumption-     
HI (Hawaii)
6/19/2006 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYes  Yes  2 Citations
IA (Iowa)

Prior to July 1, 2014, Iowa law did not specifically prohibit consumption of alcohol by persons under 21, but only generally prohibited the use or consumption of alcohol by any person in a public place. Iowa added a specific underage consumption prohibition beginning on July 1, 2014.

1/1/1998 - 6/30/2014Consumption-     
IA (Iowa)

Prior to July 1, 2014, Iowa law did not specifically prohibit consumption of alcohol by persons under 21, but only generally prohibited the use or consumption of alcohol by any person in a public place. Iowa added a specific underage consumption prohibition beginning on July 1, 2014.

7/1/2014 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYesOnly in combination with another exception  Only in combination with another exception 2 Citations
KS (Kansas)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2006Internal Possession-     
KS (Kansas)

INTERNAL POSSESSION: Kansas has an exception permitting persons under 21 years of age to possess or consume alcohol but the exception applies only to cereal malt beverages (defined as any fermented but undistilled liquor brewed or made from malt or from a mixture of malt or malt substitute, but not including any such liquor which is more than 3.2 percent ABW).

7/1/2006 - 1/1/2017Internal PossessionYes     3 Citations
ME (Maine)
1/1/1998 - 9/20/2001PossessionYesOnly in combination with another exception   Only in combination with another exception2 Citations
ME (Maine)
9/21/2001 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesOnly in combination with another exception  Only in combination with another exception 4 Citations
MD (Maryland)
1/1/1998 - 9/30/2009Consumption-     
MD (Maryland)

Maryland's exception includes members of an individual's "immediate family" when the alcoholic beverage is furnished and consumed "in a private residence or within the curtilage of the residence." APIS interprets the phrase “immediate family” as including a spouse. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 10-117(c)(1) beginning October 1, 2002, and Md. Ann. Code 1957 art. 27, § 401A(c)(1) prior to October 1, 2002.

10/1/2009 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYesOnly in combination with another exceptionOnly in combination with another exception Only in combination with another exception 2 Citations
MD (Maryland)
1/1/1998 - 9/30/2009PossessionYesYes    4 Citations
MD (Maryland)

Maryland's exception includes members of an individual's "immediate family" when the alcoholic beverage is furnished and possessed "in a private residence or within the curtilage of the residence." APIS interprets the phrase “immediate family” as including a spouse. See Md. Code Ann., Crim. Law § 10-117(c)(1) beginning October 1, 2002, and Md. Ann. Code 1957 art. 27, § 401A(c)(1) prior to October 1, 2002.

10/1/2009 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesOnly in combination with another exceptionOnly in combination with another exception Only in combination with another exception 5 Citations
MO (Missouri)
1/1/1998 - 8/27/2005Internal Possession-     
MO (Missouri)
8/28/2005 - 1/1/2017Internal PossessionYes     3 Citations
NE (Nebraska)
1/1/1998 - 8/31/2001Consumption-     
NE (Nebraska)
9/1/2001 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYes    Yes6 Citations
NH (New Hampshire)
1/1/1998 - 12/31/2002Internal Possession-     
NH (New Hampshire)
1/1/2003 - 1/1/2017Internal PossessionYes     3 Citations
NM (New Mexico)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/1998PossessionYes     1 Citations
NM (New Mexico)

POSSESSION: In New Mexico between July 1, 1998, and June 30, 2004, possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21 was specifically allowed when "a parent or legal guardian of a minor serve[d] alcoholic beverages to that minor on real property, other than licensed premises, under the control of the parent or legal guardian."

7/1/1998 - 6/30/2004PossessionYesOnly in combination with another exception Only in combination with another exception  2 Citations
NM (New Mexico)

POSSESSION: In New Mexico beginning July 1, 2004, possession of alcoholic beverages by a person under 21 is specifically allowed when "a parent, legal guardian or adult spouse of a minor serves alcoholic beverages to that minor on real property, other than licensed premises, under the control of the parent, legal guardian or adult
spouse.”

7/1/2004 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesOnly in combination with another exceptionOnly in combination with another exceptionOnly in combination with another exception  2 Citations
NC (North Carolina)
1/1/1998 - 11/30/2006Consumption-     
NC (North Carolina)
12/1/2006 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYes     3 Citations
NC (North Carolina)
1/1/1998 - 11/30/2006Internal Possession-     
NC (North Carolina)
12/1/2006 - 1/1/2017Internal PossessionYes     2 Citations
OK (Oklahoma)

Although Oklahoma law contains no prohibition against underage consumption of alcoholic beverages generally, the state does prohibit consumption of "low-point beer" (defined as containing not more than 3.2 percent ABW) by persons under 21 unless under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian. This exception does not allow persons under 21 to consume such beverages on premises licensed to dispense low-point beer. (Provisions specific to beer containing not more than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight are not used as a basis for APIS coding.)

1/1/1998 - 10/31/2015Consumption-     No Law
2 Citations
OK (Oklahoma)

Prior to November 1, 2015, persons under 21 could consume low-point beer (defined as beer or malt beverages not more than 3.2 percent ABW) if under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian. (Provisions specific to beer containing not more than 3.2 percent alcohol by weight are not used as a basis for APIS coding.) Effective November 1, 2015, the prohibition was expanded to prohibit consumption of "low-point beer" or any "intoxicating liquor."

11/1/2015 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYesYes Yes  4 Citations
OK (Oklahoma)

Prior to November 1, 2015, persons under 21 could possess with intent to consume low-point beer (defined as beer or malt beverages not more than 3.2 percent ABW) if under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian. (Provisions specific to beer containing not more than 3.2 percent ABW are not used as a basis for APIS coding.)

1/1/1998 - 10/31/2015PossessionYes  Yes  5 Citations
OK (Oklahoma)
11/1/2015 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesYes Yes  5 Citations
SC (South Carolina)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2007Consumption-     
SC (South Carolina)
7/1/2007 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYes     6 Citations
SC (South Carolina)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2007Internal Possession-     
SC (South Carolina)
7/1/2007 - 1/1/2017Internal PossessionYes    Yes8 Citations
SD (South Dakota)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2010ConsumptionYes     1 Citations
SD (South Dakota)
7/1/2010 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYesYesYes   3 Citations
SD (South Dakota)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2010PossessionYes     1 Citations
SD (South Dakota)
7/1/2010 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesYesYes   3 Citations
UT (Utah)
1/1/1998 - 5/2/2004Internal Possession-     
UT (Utah)
5/3/2004 - 1/1/2017Internal PossessionYes     6 Citations
VT (Vermont)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2000Consumption-     
VT (Vermont)
7/1/2000 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYes     6 Citations
VA (Virginia)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2005Consumption-     
VA (Virginia)
7/1/2005 - 6/30/2006ConsumptionYes     3 Citations
VA (Virginia)
7/1/2006 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYesOnly in combination with another exceptionOnly in combination with another exception Only in combination with another exception 5 Citations
VA (Virginia)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2006PossessionYesYes    2 Citations
VA (Virginia)

POSSESSION: Virginia law provides for two separate family exceptions. First, Virginia permits persons under twenty-one to possess alcoholic beverages due to such person's "making a delivery of alcoholic beverages by order of his parent." APIS interprets the phrase “by order of his parent” as providing for parental consent. Va. Code Ann. § 4.1-305. Second, Virginia permits underage possession when an alcoholic beverage is provided to an underage guest in a private residence and the underage guest is "accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is twenty-one years of age or older." Va. Code Ann. §§ 4.1-305, 4.1-200. The second exception is limited to specific locations, but the first one is not. Because at least one of these exceptions is not conditioned on a specific location, APIS codes the Parent/Guardian exception with a check mark rather than a plus sign.

7/1/2006 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesYesOnly in combination with another exception Only in combination with another exception 5 Citations
WY (Wyoming)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2010Consumption-     
WY (Wyoming)
7/1/2010 - 1/1/2017ConsumptionYesYesYes   2 Citations
WY (Wyoming)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2010Internal Possession-     
WY (Wyoming)
7/1/2010 - 1/1/2017Internal PossessionYesYesYes   2 Citations
WY (Wyoming)
1/1/1998 - 6/30/2010PossessionYesYes Yes  1 Citations
WY (Wyoming)
7/1/2010 - 1/1/2017PossessionYesYesYes   2 Citations