What are the Penalties for the Illegal Possession of Alcohol?

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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 February 2020
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Penalties for the illegal possession of alcohol differ in various states and counties, and in different countries as well. Penalties incurred for illegal possession of alcohol typically depend upon age of the accused. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) while too young to legally have alcohol may also have serious consequences. In general, penalties for possessing alcohol illegally may be a fines or suspension of a motor vehicle license for a specified time. These penalties will vary according to laws of a particular region.

Possession of alcohol is typically legal for adults in many parts of the world. If the individual, however, is a minor, alcohol possession may be illegal and result in penalties. This may include being placed on probation. Second or third offenses will typically result in more serious punishment.

A minor who is placed on probation for the illegal possession of alcohol will be assigned a probation officer. The youth will typically have to meet with the officer at designated times, usually once or twice a week. He will report on his activities and be evaluated. If the individual deviates from court orders, he may be subject to a more serious sentence, possibly involving incarceration.


During the course of the probation period, the minor may also be sentenced to community service work. A community service program may include working for several hours a week or month serving the community in some capacity. This could involve work in a youth center or cleaning public facilities. Work in hospitals or charity facilities may be other assigned duties.

For a minor who has been charged with illegal possession of alcohol as a second offense, the penalties may be more harsh. A judge will determine what penalties the individual is subject to. This may include a permanent suspension of a motor vehicle license, a heavy fine, or possible jail time or placement in a juvenile corrections facility. In some cases, an attorney for the accused may be highly recommended.

In the case of possession of alcohol and drinking while driving a motor vehicle, penalties may be more severe. Again, various countries may have different laws and penalties may differ. In general, one can expect severe consequences if charged with possession of alcohol while driving, particularly if the offender is underage. Being found with illegal possession of alcohol on public school grounds may result in jail time in some states as well. In addition to prison sentences, automobile insurance rates may also increase.


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