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Underage Drinking


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 parent/guardian

Consumption is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND parent/guardian

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.

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

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

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND parent/guardian

  • Beer: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Wine: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Spirits: 18 for both servers and bartenders

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:

  • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
  • Retailers are permitted to seize apparently false IDs
  • General affirmative defense - the retailer came to a good faith or reasonable decision that the purchaser was 21 years or older; inspection of an identification card not required

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: 5 or more


  • destroying the label on a keg - max. fine/jail: $625 / 30 days

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address
  • verified by a government-issued ID

Warning information to purchaser: passive – no purchaser action required

Deposit required: $

Provisions specifically address disposable kegs

Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:

  • Underage purchase
  • Underage consumption

Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 18

Authority to impose driver's license sanction

  • discretionary

Length of suspension/revocation: 365 days

Social host law is not 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: KNOWLEDGE - host must have actual knowledge of the occurrence


  • Family

Iowa's social host statute only applies to possession or consumption by persons under the age of 18. This law does not apply to a landlord or manager of the property.