Underage Drinking

Arkansas

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

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

Notes:
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.

Purchase is prohibited and there is NO ALLOWANCE for youth purchase for law enforcement purposes.

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

Notes:
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.

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

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

Notes:
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."

BAC limit: 0.02 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Keg definition: a liquid capacity of more than five gallons

Prohibited:

  • 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

Arkansas has two Use/Lose laws:

  • 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
  • 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

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

Exception(s):

  • Family

Notes:
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.