Penalties for Underage Drinking in North Carolina

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  2. Penalties for Underage Drinking in North Carolina
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Noah liked to party with his friends on the weekends. They weren’t bothered at all by the fact that none of them were 21 years of age. Some of their adult friends bought liquor for them and even let them use their IDs to buy their own booze. This activity was unfortunate and unacceptably risky on many levels, but they continued without considering the penalties for underage drinking. In North Carolina, the laws are clear about the consequences of engaging in prohibited activities. That’s what we will explore in this article.

North Carolina Underage Drinking Laws

Like every state, North Carolina has laws setting out the age when an individual can begin drinking alcohol and beer. Generally, though, you must be 21 years old to buy or consume alcohol. It’s also illegal to give alcohol to minors. Also, it’s even illegal to give an underage person your ID so they can get alcohol.

The law provides no exceptions for:

  • underage possession of alcohol,
  • underage consumption of alcohol, and
  • purchasing alcohol under the age of 21.

These situations, and others, are crimes. People committing crimes are subject to the penalties outlined in North Carolina laws.

Penalties for Underage Drinking

Anyone under age 21 who ignores the law and drinks anyway faces the following punishment:

  • Class 1 misdemeanor – for possessing, purchasing, or attempting to buy alcohol
  • Class 3 misdemeanor, fines, and possible loss of driver’s license – for 19 to 20-year-olds caught with beer or wine.
  • Fines and community service – for selling or providing alcohol to someone who is underage or assisting someone with underage drinking
  • Driver’s license loss, revocation, suspension, or denial – for drinking under the age of 21.
  • Driver’s license loss– for letting an underage person use your ID to obtain alcohol.

In addition to these penalties for underage drinking, you probably will have to pay court costs and attorney’s fees. Also, people convicted of this type of crime often are not allowed to work at establishments that sell alcohol.

Some consequences are not dictated by North Carolina laws, however.

In 2017, drinking caused approximately 145 deaths. Also, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services: “26% of all traffic fatalities in North Carolina were alcohol-related.” And, yet, about 27% of high school students engage in underage drinking.

Are You Learning Firsthand About the Penalties for Underage Drinking?

If you have received a ticket or citation for underage drinking, it’s crucial to have legal representation. Your North Carolina traffic citation lawyer can explain the laws to you and might be able to reduce your penalty.

Attorney Leslie Craft has the experience you need to deal with underage drinking, traffic violations, and bankruptcy. Ms. Craft’s goal is always to help her clients get past their legal problems and get on with their lives. Consultations are free and only take about 30 – 45 minutes of your time. Your options may surprise and even excite you!

To schedule a free personal consultation, call Craft Law Offices at (252) 752-0297 or email us at My offices are located in Greenville, Morehead City, and Rocky Mount for your convenience. I also represent clients in surrounding Eastern North Carolina communities, including Warrenton, Elizabeth City, Roanoke Rapids, Goldsboro, and Jacksonville.

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