Selling alcohol to underage persons is a serious criminal offense that is not treated lightly by the court system. This offense occurs on a daily basis in Ohio. Due to the fact that Ohio’s legal drinking age is 21, it is also illegal for anyone to provide alcohol to underage individuals.
Selling alcohol to underage persons can be defined according to the Ohio Revised Code (ORC 4301.69) as anyone who does any of the following:
- Sells, buys or provides alcohol to anyone who is underage unless it is for religious purposes, provided by a doctor for medical purposes, or the underage individual is supervised by a parent, legal guardian or spouse who is not underage;
- Knowingly allows anyone underage to possess or consume alcohol on their property, unless it was provided under supervision to them by a parent, legal guardian, or spouse who is not underage;
- Makes or uses reservations at a hotel, campground or restaurant when that person knows or has reason to know either:
- That alcohol will be consumed by an underage person or people on the property, unless it is provided by a parent, legal guardian or spouse that is not underage;
- That a drug will be used on the property, except if it was prescribed by a licensed health professional and it was in the original container.
- Lets anyone who is underage make reservations at a hotel or campground or let another individual make reservations for them, if they know or have reason to believe that an underage person is drunk or is in possession of alcohol and is not under the supervision of a parent, legal guardian, or spouse who is not underage;
- Lets anyone who is underage be subject to anything previously described, whether a parent, legal guardian or spouse who is not underage.
Providing or selling alcohol to underage persons carries harsh consequences in Ohio. If you are convicted of selling alcohol to underage persons in Ohio, you will face a first degree misdemeanor. This entails at most six months in prison and $1,000 in fines.
In addition to a prison sentence and fines, if you are convicted of selling alcohol to underage persons, you may face suspension or revocation of your liquor license, difficulty keeping or finding a job, the loss or disapproval of family and friends, and difficulty maintaining custody of your children to name a few.