Underage Drinking


The policy topics, below, address statues and regulations related to underage drinking and access to alcohol.

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

INTERNAL POSSESSION: Although Arizona does not prohibit Internal Possession as defined by APIS, beginning on May 23, 2002, it has a statutory provision that makes it unlawful, "[f]or a person under the age of twenty-one years to have in the person's body any spirituous liquor." Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 4-244. 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.

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

  • Beer: 19 for both servers and bartenders
  • Wine: 19 for both servers and bartenders
  • Spirits: 19 for both servers and bartenders
  • Beer: 16
  • Wine: 16
  • Spirits: 16

Condition(s) that must be met in order for an underage person to sell alcoholic beverages:

  • manager/supervisor is present

Off-sale retailers may employ persons who are at least 16 years of age to check out, if supervised by a person on the premises who is at least 19 years of age, package or carry merchandise, including spirituous liquor, in unbroken packages, for the convenience of the customer of the employer, if the employer sells primarily merchandise other than spirituous liquor.

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:

  • State provides incentives to retailers who use electronic scanners that read birthdate and other information digitally encoded on valid identification cards
  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid
  • BAC limit: 0.00 - any detectable alcohol in the blood is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.
  • Applies to drivers under age 21.

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 18

Authority to impose driver's license sanction

  • discretionary

Length of suspension/revocation:

  • Minimum: 0 days
  • Maximum: 180 days

Social host law is specifically limited to underage drinking parties.

Action by underage guest that triggers violation: Possession Consumption

Property type(s) covered by liability law:

  • Residence
  • Outdoor
  • Other

Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: NEGLIGENCE - host knew or should have known of the event's occurrence (in legal terminology this is referred to as "constructive knowledge")


  • Family
  • Resident

Arizona's social host provision applies to gatherings of two or more underage persons on unlicensed premises, where the person charged knows or should know that one or more of the underage persons is in possession of or consuming spirituous liquor.