Offences Involving Underage Drinking (Qld)

The age at which a person can legally drink alcohol in Queensland is 18. There are numerous criminal offences that relate to supplying alcohol to a minor or allowing a minor to be on licensed premises or to possess or consume alcohol. These offences can attract fines of up to $33,362.50. A minor who is found on licensed premises without a parent or guardian can also be fined up to $3336.25. This article outlines the laws around underage drinking in Queensland.

Legislation on underage drinking

The Liquor Act 1992 regulates the sale of liquor and its consumption on licensed premises in Queensland. Its stated aims are to minimise the harm that results from alcohol abuse and alcohol’s adverse effects while regulating and fostering the development of the liquor and hospitality industries.

The Act contains various offences relating to allowing underage drinking. These offences are punishable by fines only. However, the fine can be very large especially where the person responsible for permitting underage drinking is a licensee or permittee under the Act.

Underage Persons Not Allowed On Licensed Premises

A person who is under 18 must not be on licensed premises and must not drink alcohol or possess alcohol on licensed premises. A fine of up to 25 penalty units applies for this offence.

There are, however, several exceptions.

Exception to law on underage drinking

A person under 18 is permitted to drink on licensed premises if they are accompanied by a parent or guardian provided they are responsibly supervised by that parent or guardian.

Exception to law about minors on licensed premises

A minor who works at licensed premises may be on the premises. A minor who lives on licensed premises may also be on the premises.

Alcohol May Not Be Sold To A Minor

Section 155A of the Act states that a person must not sell alcohol to a minor. A fine of up to 250 penalty units applies for a licensee, permittee or manager of licensed premises who does so. A maximum fine of 80 penalty units applies to any other person who does so.

Alcohol May Not Be Supplied To Underage person On Licensed Premises under Liquor Act

Section 156 of the Act states that a person must not supply alcohol to an underage person or permit alcohol to be supplied to or consumed by a minor on premises that hold a liquor license or permit unless the minor is being supervised by a responsible adult.

The maximum penalty for this is a fine of 250 penalty units for a licensee or permittee or manager of premises. The maximum penalty is a fine of 80 penalty units for any other person.

Alcohol Not To Be Supplied To Underage Person In Private Place

Under section 156A, it is an offence to supply a person who is below the age of 18 with alcohol at a private place unless the person supplying the alcohol is the young person’s parent or guardian.

A minor’s responsible adult must not supply alcohol to them in a private place in a way that is inconsistent with their responsible supervision. Whether the supply of liquor is consistent with the responsible supervision of the young person is to be determined based on their age, whether the adult is intoxicated, whether the young person is intoxicated, the amount of liquor consumed and other factors.

The maximum penalty that applies for this offence is a fine of 80 penalty units.

Fake ID and underage drinking

It is also an offence under the Liquor Act for a person to make false representations about their age by claiming to be over 18. A fine of up to 25 penalty units can be imposed for this offence.

It is also an offence to make or provide fake ID that serves as a proof of age document to allow a minor to obtain alcohol. This can attract a fine of up to 40 penalty units for an adult and up to 25 penalty units for a minor.

If a minor uses fake ID to try to obtain alcohol, or uses genuine ID wrongfully, the person to whom the ID is presented is required to seize it and provide it to an investigator.

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


Fernanda Dahlstrom

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice. She practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection, domestic violence and family law in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
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