Underage Drinking
Alcohol Law Enforcement special agents are vigorous in their efforts to stop the illegal sale of alcohol to and consumption of alcohol by minors. In addition to their law enforcement responsibilities, ALE special agents provide educational training programs that educate high school and college students on the dangers of drinking alcoholic beverages.
A person under the age of 21 caught purchasing, attempting to purchase or possessing alcohol will be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. Sentencing is left to the judge's discretion. If convicted, the Division of Motor Vehicles revokes that person's driver's license.
  • A 19 or 20-year-old caught possessing beer or wine can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor and if found guilty could be fined up to $200 and lose his or her driver's license.
  • For the first offense, a person convicted of selling or providing alcohol to someone under the age of 21 must pay a $250 fine plus $100 in court costs and do 25 hours of community service.
  • A person convicted for aiding and abetting the sale or provision of alcohol to a minor must pay a $500 fine plus court costs and do 25 hours of community service work.
  • In addition to fines and court costs, those convicted of breaking the state alcohol laws may have to pay attorney's fees and may not be employed by a business that holds an ABC permit for a period of two years following conviction.
  • It is illegal for anyone to loan his or her ID to someone else to obtain alcohol. Upon conviction, DMV will revoke the loaner's driver's license.
Underage Drinking Facts
  • Alcohol stems brain development in adolescents and young adults. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Alcohol may cause permanent damage to the memory and learning center inside the brain as well as decision-making and reasoning areas. (Clinical EEG and Neuroscience).
  • 14% of North Carolina high school students had their first drink before the age of 13. (HHS Office of Adolescent Health).
  • Alcohol kills more young people under the age of 21 than all other illicit drugs combined. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
  • Most high school students that drink alcohol are binge drinkers (57.8%). (DHHS)
  • Thirty-three percent of middle school students began drinking before age 11. (DHHS)
  • In North Carolina, the underage consumption of alcohol costs taxpayers $1.1 billion annually.
  • Alcohol is one of the most common contributors of injury, death and criminal behavior among youth.
  • 95% of all violent crimes committed on college campuses are alcohol-related. (N.C. Carolina Governor's Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse).
  • In 2015, 23.5% of all fatal crashes in North Carolina involving an underage driver were due to alcohol impairment. (Responsibility.org)
  • Most teens get their alcohol from their parents or other adults over the age of 21.
  • It is illegal for anyone under 21 to drive while consuming or after consuming alcohol.
  • Any reading above 0.00 on an alcohol-screening test is sufficient to convict a youth.
  • Refusing to take an intoxilyzer test along with the odor of alcohol on the breath is sufficient evidence to convict an underage user.