Underage Drinking

Delaware

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

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

Notes:
Delaware’s exception includes “members of the same family” and allows possession if in “private home of any of said members.” Del. Code Ann. tit. 4, § 904. APIS interprets the phrase “members of the same family” as including a spouse.

Consumption is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

Notes:
Delaware’s exception includes “members of the same family” and allows consumption if in “private home of any of said members.” Del. Code Ann. tit. 4, § 904. APIS interprets the phrase “members of the same family” as including a spouse.

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

Notes:
Although Delaware does not prohibit Internal Possession as defined by APIS, it has a statutory provision that makes it an offense for "[w]hoever, being under the age of 21 years, has alcoholic liquor in his or her possession at any time, or consumes or is found to have consumed alcoholic liquor." Del. Code Ann. tit. 4, § 904. 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 NOT prohibited and there is no specific allowance for youth purchase for law enforcement purposes.

Notes:
Delaware does not have a statute that specifically prohibits purchase, but it does prohibit “obtaining” alcohol in connection with making a false statement. See Del. Code Ann. tit. 4, § 904(b). APIS does not include laws with such limitations in the Purchase policy topic.

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

Notes:
Delaware’s exception includes “members of the same family” and allows furnishing if in the “private home of any of said members.” See Del. Code Ann. tit. 4, § 904. APIS interprets the phrase “members of the same 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 retailers:

  • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid

Notes:
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.

BAC limit: 0.02 - a BAC level above the limit 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 possession
  • Underage consumption

Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21

Authority to impose driver's license sanction

  • mandatory

Length of suspension/revocation: 30 days

No State-imposed liability for hosting underage drinking parties.