Underage Drinking and Related Offences (ACT)

The sale, supply and consumption of alcohol is regulated by the Liquor Act 2010 in the ACT. The act contains a number of offences relating to unlawful sale and supply of alcohol, some of which relate to underage drinking and the sale and supply of alcohol to a person who is under 18. This article deals with offences relating to underage drinking in the ACT.

Supplying Alcohol To Underage Persons

Under the Act, there are offences relating to supplying alcohol to a minor. These include:

  • a licensee or permit-holder supplying alcohol to an underage person at licensed premises. The maximum penalty that applies for this is a fine of 50 penalty units;
  • an employee of a licensee or permit-holder supplying alcohol to an underage person at licensed premises. A fine of 10 penalty units applies for this offence;
  • a person supplying alcohol to an underage person at licensed premises. The maximum penalty that applies for this is a fine of 20 penalty units.

It is a defence to any of the offences if the young person was over 16 and had shown ID that appeared to prove they were over 18.

Offence of underage drinking

A licensee or permit holder commits an offence if underage persons drink alcohol at their licensed premises. This can lead to a fine of up to 20 penalty units.

However, it is a defence if the minor was over 16 and presented ID that appeared to prove that they were over 18.

Under Section 115, a minor is guilty of an offence if they consume alcohol at licensed, catered, or permitted premises. This is punishable by up to five penalty units.

Underage drinking: Minor Possessing Alcohol

Under section 116, a licensee or permit holder commits an offence if an underage person possesses alcohol at their premises. This can attract a fine of up to 20 penalty units.

An underage person commits an offence if they possess alcohol at licensed, catered or permitted premises. They may be fined up to five penalty units.

Supplying Alcohol

A licensee or permit holder commits an offence if they employ a person who is under 18 to supply liquor within the adults-only area of the premises. A person guilty of this can be fined up to 50 penalty units.

Sending Underage Person To Obtain Liquor

Section 119 makes it an offence to send a person who is under 18 to obtain liquor from licensed premises. However, this is not an offence if the young person is doing work or training at the premises. Under any other circumstances, a fine of up to 10 penalty units can be imposed.

Adults Only Areas Of Licensed Premises

It is an offence to allow underage persons to be in the adults-only area of licensed premises. This can attract a fine of up to 50 penalty units.

It is also an offence for a person under 18 to be in the adults-only area of licensed premises. The young person can receive a fine of up to five penalty units for this offence. 

However, this does not amount to an offence if the minor is supervised by a parent or guardian.

Identification and underage drinking

A person who is working at licensed premises may refuse to sell or serve alcohol to a person who does not show proof of age ID when asked to do so.

It is an offence for a young person to use a fake ID to gain entry to licensed premises. A person who does so may be fined up to five penalty units or given a caution.

If a staff member believes that an ID that is presented is false, they may seize the document (so long as it is not a passport.)

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers. 

Author

Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws from Latrobe University, a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (Writing and Literature) from Deakin University. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory. She also practised in family law after moving to Brisbane in 2016.
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