Underage Drinking

Massachusetts

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

Possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian

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):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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: 0.02 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Keg definition: more than 2 gallons

Purchaser information collected:

  • purchaser's name and address

Warning information to purchaser: active – purchaser action required (e.g., signature)

Deposit required: $5

Provisions do not specifically address disposable kegs

Notes:
The deposit provisions in Massachusetts require that a purchaser pay the following: (a) a container fee of not less than $10.00 for each keg having a capacity of six or more gallons and of not less than $1.00 for each container having a capacity of less than six gallons; and (b) a registration fee of $10.00 for each keg having a capacity of six or more gallons and of $4.00 for each keg having a capacity of less than six gallons. The comparison tables display the minimum required amount.

Massachusetts has two Use/Lose laws:

  1. Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:
    • Underage possession
    • Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21
    • Authority to impose driver's license sanction
      • mandatory
    • Length of suspension/revocation: 90 days
  2. Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:
    • Underage purchase
    • Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21
    • Authority to impose driver's license sanction
      • mandatory
    • Length of suspension/revocation: 180 days

Social host law is not specifically limited to underage drinking parties.

Action by underage guest that triggers violation: Possession

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