Underage drinking, also known as minor in possession in Louisiana, is very common throughout the state and the entire country. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than half of teens will consume at least one alcoholic beverage by the time they reach 18 years old. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 stipulates that it is against the law for anyone to consume alcohol before they are 21 years old. The law is slightly different in Louisiana, though. Below, our Ouachita Parish misdemeanor defense lawyer explains more.
Exceptions to the Law in Ouachita Parish
While federal law does prohibit individuals from drinking alcohol before they are 21 years of age, there are some exceptions to this in Ouachita Parish. These are as follows:
- When a parent, guardian, or spouse over the age of 21 accompanies the underage individual
- When a minor’s employment position requires them to handle alcohol, such as servers in a restaurant
- When a minor consumes alcohol in a private residence, and
- When a person under the age of 21 consumes alcohol as part of a religious ceremony
Penalties for Underage Consumption or Possession of Alcohol
Many people think underage drinking is a juvenile offense, but this is not always the case. If you are over the age of 18, you are still prohibited from consuming alcohol, and if you violate the law, you will be charged as an adult. The penalties you will face include:
- A maximum fine of $100,
- A suspension of your driver’s license for up to 180 days, and
- A maximum of six months in jail
The sentence you receive will depend on the facts of the case, such as if you are a repeat offender.
Penalties for Buying Alcohol for a Minor
The penalties for those convicted of purchasing alcohol for a minor include:
- A maximum fine of $500,
- A suspension of your driver’s license for a maximum 180 days, and
- Up to 30 days in jail
Penalties for Selling Alcohol to an Underage Individual
Just like only certain people can purchase alcohol for a minor, most people are prohibited from selling alcohol to an underage individual. The only people who can purchase alcohol for minors are parents, guardians, and spouses. Another exception is when a person over the age of 18 years old owns or works for an establishment that has a liquor license, and they are accepting a delivery containing alcohol as part of their job. Anyone convicted of selling alcohol to a minor can face a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to six months in jail.
Our Misdemeanor Defense Lawyer in Ouachita Parish Can Help with Your Case
Whether you have been charged with underage drinking, buying alcohol for a minor, or selling alcohol to an underage individual, our Ouachita Parish misdemeanor defense lawyer at Whiddon Criminal Defense can create a strong strategy for your case so you have the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us now at 318-594-3592 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.