State underage alcohol drinking laws should be clear and easy to understand. Otherwise, they’re easy to violate by accident. And they certainly should be consistent. Following one law shouldn’t mean violating another.
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Conflicting underage alcohol drinking laws in states.
In Arkansas, it is illegal for those under 21 to possess alcohol. There are no exceptions. But state law specifically permits family members to furnish alcohol to other family members who are under 21.
California law permits those under 21 to possess alcohol in private locations (except a vehicle), or with a spouse, parent, or guardian. But furnishing alcohol to such a person is illegal, with no exceptions. And it is illegal for those under 21 to buy alcohol. So how do the young drinkers get their alcohol, which they can legally possess?
Under 21 and live in Idaho? You may legally possess beer or wine in a private residence with your parent or guardian. But you may not drink it. You may not purchase it. And no one may furnish it to you. There are no exceptions.
In Illinois, it’s legal for those under 21 to drink alcohol in a private residence with a parent or guardian. But no one may legally furnish alcohol to those of that age. Nor may they legally buy it themselves. There are no exceptions to these furnish or purchase laws.
Kentucky permits a parent or guardian to furnish their under-21 offspring alcohol. But it is illegal for the latter to possess the it. There are no exceptions to the prohibition against possession.
In Minnesota, those under age 21 may legally possess alcohol in their parent or guardian’s home. They may also legally drink it there with them. But the state has a law that makes it illegal “[f]or any person under the age of 21 years to consume any alcoholic beverages.”
A parent or guardian may legally furnish alcohol to their offspring under 21. But the latter may not legally possess the alcohol that was legally furnished.
In Nebraska, a minor may legally possess and drink alcohol in their parent orguardian’s home. But it is illegal for anyone, including a parent or guardian, to furnish the alcohol. And it is illegal for the minor to buy it.
The state of New York permits those under 21 to possess alcohol with a parent or guardian. But it is illegal for anyone, including a parent or guardian, to furnish the alcohol. And it’s illegal for minors to buy or attempt to buy alcohol by using false evidence of age.
In Rhode Island, parents or guardians may legally furnish alcohol to their minors. But the possession of that alcohol by minors is prohibited without exception.
South Carolina permits those under 21 to possess alcohol in the parent or guardian’s home. But the alcohol may be furnished in either the home of the parent or guardian or in the home of the spouse. But this is moot because drinking alcohol is prohibited without exception.
In West Virginia, it is legal for guardians or any relative by blood or marriage to furnish alcohol to minors. But it is illegal, without exception, for minors to either possess or drink alcohol.
Note: Do not rely on these facts. Consult a lawyer for all legal advice facts and advice.