Underage Drinking in Arizona
Underage drinking in the United States is a persistent issue across the country. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a 2021 study reported that 13.4 million people ages 12-20 had had at least one alcoholic beverage. Their research shows that underage drinking can play a part in the interference of normal brain development within this age demographic. It also statistically factors into alcohol poisoning accidents, sexual assaults, and vehicular accidents.
Given these issues, Arizona takes the issue of underage drinking seriously. A.R.S. 4-244 prohibits individuals under the age of 21 to consume any “spiritous liquor” except in cases of bona fide religious or medicinal purposes. Additionally:
- A liquor licensee or employee cannot provide liquor to an underage person, or allow them to have liquor on their premises.
- A person under age 21 cannot drive a vehicle or operate a watercraft after having consumed liquor.
- A liquor licensee cannot allow an underage person into any area of their premises that is designated as only being for those age 21 and older.
- For liquor to be sold to anyone under the age of 21.
Additionally, Arizona has zero-tolerance of underage people who drive while under the influence. An underage person can be charged for having any amount of alcohol in their system.
According to A.R.S. 4-101, spiritous liquor includes “alcohol, brandy, whiskey, rum, tequila, mescal, gin, wine, porter, ale, beer, any malt liquor or malt beverage, absinthe, a compound or mixture of any of them or of any of them with any vegetable or other substance, alcohol bitters, bitters containing alcohol, any liquid mixture or preparation, whether patented or otherwise, that produces intoxication, fruits preserved in ardent spirits, and beverages containing more than one-half of one percent of alcohol by volume.”
Violations and Consequences Stemming from Underage Drinking
Individuals under age 21 who are caught having consumed alcohol can be given a “Minor in Consumption,” or MIC, charge. This is a class 1 misdemeanor and can result in fines up to $2500, jail up to six months, and a temporary revoking of their driver’s license.
Individuals under age 21 who purchase alcohol using a fake ID can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in fines up to $2500, jail up to six months, and a temporary revoking of their driver’s license.
Individuals under age 21 who found in possession of alcohol can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, resulting in fines up to $2500, jail up to six months, and a temporary revoking of their driver’s license.
Individuals under age 21 who ask someone else to provide alcohol to them, whether through purchase or other means, can be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor. This can result in fines up to $500, jail up to six months, and a temporary revoking of their driver’s license.
Individuals under age 21 who drive while under the influence of alcohol can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor, with consequences similar to that of an adult DUI. However, a person under the age of 21 who is found to have driven while under the influence of alcohol may also have their license suspended for two years.
Often, people under age 21 are not thinking about long-term consequences when they drink while underage. It is imperative for them to realize that this criminal charge on their record can affect their future in terms of employment, college and university housing, scholarships, or financial aid, housing applications to landlords, and increased insurance rates, among other aspects.
If you or someone you know has been charged with underage drinking, call Rideout Law Group today to work through your best defense and mitigate the long-term ramifications.
RIDEOUT LAW GROUP
With offices in Lake Havasu City and Scottsdale, our firm serves the entire state of Arizona, with a particular focus on criminal defense, family law, and juvenile cases.
Our goal is for the best outcome for your criminal case, which can include:
- charges that are reduced or dropped.
- top experts reviewing your case.
- aggressive negotiations with the prosecution for plea bargains.
- fines or probation in lieu of jail time.
At Rideout Law Group, our attorneys are able to expertly examine the evidence in your case to provide a strong strategy for argument that leads to an outcome that is most favorable to you. We have experience in all types of criminal cases for both adults and juveniles, with positive outcomes both in plea negotiations as well as jury trial settings.
Call us today for a free consultation at 480-584-3328.