What Are the Punishments for Buying Alcohol and Selling Alcohol to Minors?


Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) special agents are intensely focused on stopping the illegal possession of alcohol for youth under the legal age of 21. Minors who drink alcohol can have serious emotional and physical problems as a result of alcohol intake. Given that the Raleigh/Durham area is home to several colleges and universities, there are many more underage students than a typical area would have. Local police frequently charge students under 21 years of age with unlawfully possessing alcoholic beverages.

Minors gain possession of alcohol through a variety of ways. Generally, someone older than 21 either purchases it for them or sells it to them illegally. There are serious consequences and punishments for both. If you have been charged with buying alcohol for a minor or selling alcohol to a minor in North Carolina, contact Coolidge Law Firm. We can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options.

In this article, we address the punishments for buying alcohol for minors and selling alcohol to minors.

Buying or Selling Alcohol to a Minor

North Carolina law criminalizes certain actions of adults that help provide alcohol to minors, including:

  • Giving/selling malt beverages, unfortified/fortified wine, spirituous liquor, or mixed beverages to anyone under 21
  • Aiding/abetting in the sale, gift, purchase, possession, or consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21
  • Permitting fraudulent identification

If you provide alcohol to someone younger than 21 in North Carolina, you can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Typically, whether it is a misdemeanor or felony depends on the severity of the circumstance.

If someone was seriously injured or killed as a result of the illegal supplying of alcohol, or if there have been repeated offenses, then the charge will most likely be a felony.

If you have sold alcohol to a minor, you have a better defense if:

  • The buyer provided state or federal photographic ID showing that the buyer was of legal age to make the purchase
  • The seller relied on other facts that reasonably indicated at the time of the sale that the buyer was older than 21. (N.C. General Statute Ann. Section 18B-302(d)(1)&(2).)

Punishments for Buying or Selling Alcohol to a Minor

Penalties for a person who is convicted of or pleads guilty to any one of the above offenses include both immediate and long-term consequences.

Charges for supplying alcohol to a minor can result in punishments that can require up to 150 hours of community service. Pursuant to N.C. General Statute 18B-302(a) and (a1), it shall be unlawful for any person to sell or give alcohol to anyone under the age of 21. A violation of this law is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If there is no active sentence or jail time, there is a mandatory $250.00 fine, $100 in court costs, and 25 hours of community service.

If you receive a second conviction within 4 years from your first conviction and do not receive an active sentence or jail time, there is a mandatory $500.00 fine and 150 hours of community service.

Contact Us for Alcohol Offenses in Wake County

If you have been charged with either purchasing alcohol for a minor or selling alcohol to a minor, or charged with underage possession of alcohol, call our experienced team at Coolidge Law Firm. Our Wake County attorneys are knowledgeable of the laws concerning underage drinking and are prepared to advise you. Call (919) 239-8448 or fill out the contact form below to have our Wake County criminal defense attorneys evaluate your case during a free initial consultation. We represent clients throughout Wake County, including Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Wake Forest, Holly Springs, Garner, Zebulon and Rolesville.

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