You probably know that the legal drinking age is 21. That means that individuals who are age 21 and over can legally purchase and drink alcohol. People under the age of 21 can be arrested for underage possession of alcohol or otherwise cited or charged for possession of alcohol. This type of criminal offense can be on your record for the rest of your life. What you may not know is that Georgia law includes an exception to the legal drinking age allowing individuals younger than 21 to drink alcohol legally, but only under very specific conditions.
Individuals Under 21 Can Consume Alcohol Legally in the State of Georgia IF:
1. They are in their parents’ home.
2. They are in their parents’ presence.
3. They have their parents’ permission to drink.
While not encouraging underage possession of alcohol, the Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm does feel it is important to clarify that this is the ONLY exception to Georgia law prohibiting the consumption of alcohol by someone under the age of 21. It’s equally important to clarify that there is no leeway when it comes to the requirements for the exception. It doesn’t apply if underage drinkers are with their parents at a restaurant. It doesn’t apply if underage drinkers are at home with their parents’ permission, but their parents aren’t home. It doesn’t apply if the underage drinkers are with their parents at their neighbor’s house or their grandparents’ house. The exception is very specific and very limited: in the parents’ home, in the parents’ presence and with the parents’ permission.
When underage drinking is occurring outside of this specific set of circumstances, it is not only the teen that can get in trouble. The parent can face legal trouble if they have allowed other teens to drink in their home.
While not encouraging underage drinking, we do feel it appropriate to encourage any parents who will be allowing underage drinking in their home in accordance with Georgia law to make sure to follow the requirements by making sure any underage drinking is occurring in the home and in their presence. Equally important is not allowing teens to leave the house after they have had something to drink. Most importantly, do not let them drive, as the legal exception for underage drinking will not provide any type of legal defense in the event of a DUI.
The safest bet is always to avoid drinking. But if a teen does decide to drink with their parents’ permission, in their home, they should do so responsibly and in compliance with the law. And remember; don’t set yourself up for the risk of getting into legal trouble by leaving home after drinking. If you have questions about how Georgia’s underage drinking law applies to your situation or if you need other assistance, please get in touch with Ghanouni Teen & Young Adult Defense Firm as soon as possible.