Arizona Underage Drinking Laws: What You NEED to Know

Lerner & Rowe Law Group
underage drinking laws for Arizona
The underage drinking laws for Arizona are strict, so Lerner and Rowe is here with the rules.

Arizona is quite strict when it comes to underage drinking. Generally speaking, underage drinkers are said to consume more alcohol per occasion than adults. According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they may also engage in riskier behaviors. Although the underage drinking laws for Arizona are fairly clear-cut, our team at Lerner and Rowe Law Group is here to dive deeper into the laws, penalties, and procedures associated with underage drinking in Arizona.

The Laws

Minors in Arizona can be charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) as well as with being a Minor In Possession (MIP). Furthermore, no person under age 21 can consume alcohol unless for genuine medical or religious purposes.

In addition, minors cannot be present at establishments which serve alcohol unless they are employed there or accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse of legal drinking age; however, they still cannot possess or drink alcoholic beverages. With that said, let’s go over each charge one at a time.

Underage DUI

As far as DUIs go, if you are underage and drinking, you do not need to be impaired to be charged and arrested. If you have even as little as .01 BAC, you can be charged with a DUI. In addition, you don’t even need to be driving your vehicle. Even if you are stationary, you can still be charged if you are in control and in the driver’s seat. As underage DUI cases are tricky to analyze, you’ll want the assistance of a DUI attorney from Lerner and Rowe Law Group to help ensure your rights are protected.

MIPs

A minor in possession (MIP) of alcohol is also considered a crime according to underage drinking laws for Arizona. ARS 4-244(9) provides that “It’s unlawful . . . for a person under the legal drinking age to buy, receive, have in the person’s possession or consume spirituous liquor.”

For example, if you are underage and caught holding a beer bottle, an officer doesn’t even need to prove that you were drinking. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you’re holding an unopened alcoholic beverage; you can still be charged with an MIP. Depending on the act, you could face charges from a Class 3 to a Class 1 misdemeanor. A criminal defense lawyer can explain the range of penalties and possible defenses, including an option to get the case dismissed to keep the conviction off your record.

Host Law

There is a host law in Arizona, too. Basically, adults need to know that alcohol and minors should not mix.  As an adult, you might violate this law if:

  • You knowingly put together a gathering with more than one person under the legal drinking age and both aren’t family members or permanent residents, and
  • You know or should have known that at least one underage person was in possession of or consuming alcoholic beverages.

TIP: The “should have known” part is tricky. For example, if, as an adult, you see underage guests with a case of beer, you should have known the minors possessed/planned on drinking alcohol. If you are found to be in violation of this law, consult an attorney from Lerner and Rowe Law Group to discuss your legal options.

The Penalties

Now, it’s time to go over the penalties for the crimes.

Underage drinkers charged with a DUI could face any of the following charges:

  • Up to 6 months in a juvenile detention facility
  • A fine of up to $2,500
  • A 2-year suspension of driving privileges
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device (i.e. mandatory breathalyzer) on vehicle
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Mandatory alcohol treatment program attendance

Underage drinkers charged with an MIP could face any of the following charges:

  • Up to 6 months in a juvenile detention facility
  • A fine of up to $2,500
  • A driver’s license suspension of up to 180 days

Hosts that violate Arizona’s social host laws could face any of the following charges:

  • Up to 6 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $2,500

TIP: Each case is unique and more complex than you might imagine. Therefore, you should contact a criminal defense lawyer from Lerner and Rowe Law Group to help you with your case.

Steps to Take if Charged

So, you’ve violated one of the underage drinking laws for Arizona. What should you do?

The answer? Always hire an experienced attorney. Lerner and Rowe Law Group has expert lawyers that know the intricacies of underage drinking laws for Arizona. They also know how to get you the least severe penalty when possible. There are several possible defenses that can be explored, including mere presence, insufficienciency of the evidence, or a constitutional violation.

Caught Violating Arizona Underage Drinking Laws?

If you’re accused of violating underage drinking laws for Arizona, contact the expert attorneys at Lerner and Rowe Law Group! Our criminal defense attorneys work tirelessly to defend you and will make sure you receive fair and just treatment.

Drop in during our office hours Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Or, give us a call anytime at (602) 667-7777. Alternatively, you can feel free to contact us online and utilize our awesome LiveChat feature. Consultations are absolutely free, and affordable payment plans are available. So don’t wait; call Lerner and Rowe Law Group today!

The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.