Underage Drinking

West Virginia

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

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

Notes:
West Virginia's exception allows relatives by blood or marriage to furnish alcohol to minors.

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

Condition(s) that must be met in order for an underage person to sell alcoholic beverages:

  • manager/supervisor is present

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 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
  • 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.

No State-imposed liability for hosting underage drinking parties.