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Alcohol Laws by State 2023

Alcohol Laws by State 2023

Ever since the passage of the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment, alcoholic beverages have been available for sale and consumption. However, there are specific rules and regulations that each state has that helps them abide by the law. They expect each of their citizens to follow these laws accordingly, and there could be significant consequences if they are not supported. Now, here are the alcohol laws applied and enforced around the country.


Typically, a person has to be at least 21-years-old to drink alcohol, especially in public places. This rule was established after the passing of the Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984, and the majority of states throughout the United States enforce this rule. There are some states, on the other hand, that make exceptions to this rule for specific reasons, some including: for religious practices (26 states), for education (11 states), consent from the parent(s)/guardian(s) (8 states for places selling alcohol; 29 states for private entities), and private entities allowing this act without parental consent (6 states). Approximately 45 states allow some form of underage consumption of alcohol. If anyone underaged consumes alcohol illegally without a valid excuse, then there will be some severe charges towards them.


Usually, in addition to consumption, you have to be at least 21-years-old to distribute alcohol in any public establishment. However, there is an exception to this rule that some states follow. In certain circumstances, an 18-years-old person can distribute alcohol if the establishment serves food. These types of places are mostly restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores.

Some states even have regulations for the type of alcohol an establishment can distribute. Typically, a restaurant can only serve beer and wine. A bar, on the other hand, can distribute liquor and other spirits. Currently, the majority of states allow 18-year-olds to serve alcohol. There is one state, Maine, that will allow 17-year-olds to serve alcohol, and there are three states that require servers to be at least 21-years-old to serve alcohol: Utah, Nevada, and Alaska.


Being intoxicated in public will land anyone in hot waters with the law. How severe the punishment will solely depend on the state and city someone resides. It also depends on a person’s blood-alcohol level (BAC) and whether it’s over the legal limit. Throughout the country, no one should have a BAC of 0.08% or over, especially while driving. If they do, then there are specific punishments that will be imposed, like: fines, having their license revoked, and time in jail. Some states also have specific ways of deciding what to charge a person with when they’re intoxicated in public. Depending on the offense, some states may only charge someone with a misdemeanor. Other states may impose stricter rules and charge intoxicated individuals with a felony.

Alcohol Laws by State 2023

Alcohol Laws by State 2023