Skip to main content

Underage Drinking

South Carolina

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's home

Internal possession is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • parent/guardian's home

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

Furnishing is prohibited WITH THE FOLLOWING EXCEPTION(S):

  • private residence
  • AND EITHER parent/guardian OR spouse

There is an affirmative defense if the minor is not charged.

South Carolina's Parent / Guardian and Spouse exceptions apply when the alcohol is furnished in the home of the spouse or in the home of the parent or guardian. See S.C. Code Ann. §§ 61-4-90, 61-6-4070 and 61-6-4075.

  • Beer: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders
  • Wine: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders
  • Spirits: 18 for servers and 21 for bartenders

  • Beer: Not Specified
  • Wine: Not Specified
  • Spirits: 21

Although no minimum age is specified to sell beer and wine at off-sale establishments licened to sell beer and wine, an employee of a retail liquor establishment must be at least 21 years of age.

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:

  • 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

See also Affirmative Defense: Minor Not Charged in the Furnishing Alcohol to Minors policy topic.

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

Applies to drivers age 0 or above.

Applies to drivers under age 21.

Keg definition: 5.16 or more gallons


  • possessing an unregistered, unlabeled keg - max. fine/jail: $500 / 30 days
  • destroying the label on a keg - max. fine/jail: $500 / 30 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: not required

Provisions do not specifically address disposable kegs

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

  • Underage purchase
  • 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: 120 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:

  • Other

Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: OVERT ACT - host must have actual knowledge and commit an act that contributes to the occurrence