Underage Drinking

Ohio

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
  • OR spouse

Consumption is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse

Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.

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

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian
  • OR spouse
  • Beer: 19 for both servers and bartenders
  • Wine: 19 for servers and 21 for bartenders
  • Spirits: 19 for servers and 21 for bartenders

Notes:
Although employees must be at least 21 years old in order to sell spirits, wine or mixed beverages across a bar, employees of any permit holder may sell beer across a bar if they are at least 19 years old.

Provision(s) targeting minors:

  • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
  • Penalty may include driver's license suspension through an administrative 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:

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

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Ohio has two Social Host laws:

  1. 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
    • Exception(s):
      • Family
  2. 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:
      • 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")
    • Exception(s):
      • Family

Notes:
In addition to the restrictions imposed on owners or occupants of public or private places, Ohio's provision regarding property states that no person shall engage or use accommodations at a hotel, inn, cabin, campground, or restaurant when the person knows or has reason to know that beer or intoxicating liquor will be consumed by an underage person on the premises. Owners or occupants of public or private places are held to a knowledge standard, while those who engage or use accommodations at a hotel, inn, cabin, campground, or restaurant are held to a negligence standard.