State-by-State MLDA Exceptions - Drinking Age - ProCon.org (2024)

AlabamaMLDA is 21 with no exceptions.AlaskaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "by a parent to the parent's child, by a guardian to the guardian's ward, or by a person to the legal spouse of that person if the furnishing or delivery occurs off licensed premises; or by a licensed physician or nurse to a patient in the course of administering medical treatment."ArizonaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "that the spirituous liquor was consumed in connection with the bona fide practice of a religious belief or as an integral part of a religious exercise and in a manner not dangerous to public health or safety.... [or] that the spirituous liquor was consumed for a bona fide medicinal purpose and in a manner not dangerous to public health or safety."ArkansasMLDA is 21 with no exceptions.California

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MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "where the person establishes all of the following: (1) The underage person called 911 and reported that either himself or herself or another person was in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption. (2) The underage person was the first person to make the 911 report. (3) The underage person, who reported that another person was in need of medical assistance, remained on the scene with the other person until that medical assistance arrived and cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel on the scene."

A "qualified student may taste an alcoholic beverage... if all of the following criteria are met: (1) The qualified student tastes the alcoholic beverage while enrolled in a qualified academic institution. (2) The qualified academic institution has established an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree program in any of the following: (A) Hotel management. (B) Culinary arts. (C) Enology or brewing that is designed to train industry professionals in the production of wine or beer. (3) The qualified student tastes the alcoholic beverage for educational purposes as part of the instruction in a course required for an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. (4) The alcoholic beverage remains in the control of an authorized instructor of the qualified academic institution who is at least 21 years of age."

ColoradoMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "if such possession or consumption takes place for religious purposes protected by the first amendment to the United States constitution."

"An underage person is immune from arrest and prosecution under this section if he or she establishes the following: (I) The underage person called 911 and reported in good faith that another underage person was in need of medical assistance due to alcohol or marijuana consumption; (II) The underage person who called 911 provided his or her name to the 911 operator; (III) The underage person was the first person to make the 911 report; and (IV) The underage person who made the 911 call remained on the scene with the underage person in need of medical assistance until assistance arrived and cooperated with medical assistance or law enforcement personnel on the scene. (b) The immunity described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (7) also extends to the underage person who was in need of medical assistance due to alcohol or marijuana consumption if the conditions of said paragraph (a) are satisfied."

ConnecticutMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "a person over age eighteen who is an employee or permit holder under section 30-90a and who possesses alcoholic liquor in the course of such person's employment or business, (2) a minor who possesses alcoholic liquor on the order of a practicing physician, or (3) a minor who possesses alcoholic liquor while accompanied by a parent, guardian or spouse of the minor, who has attained the age of twenty-one. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to burden a person's exercise of religion under section 3 of article first of the Constitution of the state."DCMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "Notwithstanding any other law, the offenses listed in subsection (b) of this section shall not be considered crimes... Possession of alcohol by persons under 21 years of age as prohibited by § 25-1002... (1) For a person who: (A) Reasonably believes that he or she is experiencing a drug or alcohol-related overdose and in good faith seeks health care for or administers an opioid antagonist to himself or herself; (B) Reasonably believes that another person is experiencing a drug or alcohol-related overdose and in good faith seeks healthcare for or administers an opioid antagonist to that person; (C) Is reasonably believed to be experiencing a drug or alcohol- related overdose and for whom health care is sought or to whom an opioid antagonist is administered; or (D) Is a bystander to a situation described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of this paragraph; and (2) The offense listed in subsection (b) of this section arises from the same circ*mstances as the seeking of health care under paragraph (1) of this subsection."Delaware

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MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "the possession or consumption of alcoholic liquor in connection with any religious service or by members of the same family within the private home of any of said members."

"A person who is experiencing an overdose or other life-threatening medical emergency and anyone (including the person experiencing the emergency) seeking medical attention for that person shall not be arrested, charged or prosecuted for an offense for which they have been granted immunity..., if: (1) The person seeking medical attention reports in good faith the emergency to law enforcement, the 9-1-1 system, a poison control center, or to a medical provider, or if the person in good faith assists someone so reporting; and (2) The person provides all relevant medical information as to the cause of the overdose or other life-threatening medical emergency that the person possesses at the scene of the event when a medical provider arrives, or when the person is at the facilities of the medical provider.... The immunity granted shall apply to offenses relating to underage drinking."

FloridaMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "prohibition... does not apply to the tasting of alcoholic beverages by a student who is at least 18 years of age, who is tasting the alcoholic beverages as part of the student’s required curriculum at a postsecondary educational institution that is institutionally accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and that is licensed or exempt from licensure pursuant to the provisions of chapter 1005 or is a public postsecondary education institution; if the student is enrolled in the college and is tasting the alcoholic beverages only for instructional purposes during classes that are part of such a curriculum; if the student is allowed only to taste, but not consume or imbibe, the alcoholic beverages; and if the alcoholic beverages at all times remain in the possession and control of authorized instructional personnel of the college who are 21 years of age or older."GeorgiaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "The prohibitions... shall not apply with respect to the sale, purchase, or possession of alcoholic beverages for consumption: (1) For medical purposes pursuant to a prescription of a physician duly authorized to practice medicine in this state; or (2) At a religious ceremony."

The "prohibitions... shall not apply with respect to the possession of alcoholic beverages for consumption by a person under 21 years of age when the parent or guardian of the person under 21 years of age gives the alcoholic beverage to the person and when possession is in the home of the parent or guardian and such parent or guardian is present."

HawaiiMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "Possession, custody, or consumption of liquor by a minor in connection with the minor's authorized participation in religious ceremonies requiring such possession, custody, or consumption; or... Any person between the ages of eighteen and twenty, who is participating in a controlled purchase as part of a law enforcement activity or a study authorized by the department of health to determine the level of incidence of liquor sales to minors."IdahoMLDA is 21 with no exceptions.IllinoisMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "a student under 21 years of age, but 18 years of age or older, who: (1) tastes, but does not imbibe, alcoholic liquor only during times of a regularly scheduled course while under the direct supervision of an instructor who is at least 21 years of age and employed by an educational institution...; (2) is enrolled as a student in a college, university, or post-secondary educational institution that is accredited or certified by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education or a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, or that has a permit of approval issued by the Board of Higher Education pursuant to the Private Business and Vocational Schools Act of 2012; (3) is participating in a culinary arts, fermentation science, food service, or restaurant management degree program of which a portion of the program includes instruction on responsible alcoholic beverage serving methods modeled after the Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Server Education and Training (BASSET) curriculum; and (4) tastes, but does not imbibe, alcoholic liquor for instructional purposes up to, but not exceeding, 6 times per class as a part of a required course in which the student temporarily possesses alcoholic liquor for tasting, not imbibing, purposes only in a class setting on the campus and, thereafter, the alcoholic liquor is possessed and remains under the control of the instructor."

"A law enforcement officer may not charge or otherwise take a person into custody based solely on the commission of an offense that involves alcohol and violates subsection (d) or (e) of this Section if the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circ*mstances, reasonably believes that all of the following apply: (1) The law enforcement officer has contact with the person because that person either: (A) requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; or (B) acted in concert with another person who requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; however, the provisions of this subparagraph (B) shall not apply to more than 3 persons acting in concert for any one occurrence. (2) The person described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) of this subsection (i): (A) provided his or her full name and any other relevant information requested by the law enforcement officer; (B) remained at the scene with the individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption until emergency medical assistance personnel arrived; and (C) cooperated with emergency medical assistance personnel and law enforcement officers at the scene."

"A law enforcement officer may not charge or otherwise take a person into custody based solely on the commission of an offense that involves alcohol and violates subsection (d) or (e) of this Section if the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circ*mstances, reasonably believes that all of the following apply: (A) The law enforcement officer has contact with the person because the person: (i) reported that he or she was sexually assaulted; (ii) reported a sexual assault of another person or requested emergency medical assistance or medical forensic services for another person who had been sexually assaulted; or (iii) acted in concert with another person who reported a sexual assault of another person or requested emergency medical assistance or medical forensic services for another person who had been sexually assaulted; however, the provisions of this item (iii) shall not apply to more than 3 persons acting in concert for any one occurrence. The report of a sexual assault may have been made to a health care provider, to law enforcement, including the campus police or security department of an institution of higher education, or to the Title IX coordinator of an institution of higher education or another employee of the institution responsible for responding to reports of sexual assault under State or federal law. (B) The person who reports the sexual assault: (i) provided his or her full name; (ii) remained at the scene until emergency medical assistance personnel arrived, if emergency medical assistance was summoned for the person who was sexually assaulted and he or she cooperated with emergency medical assistance personnel; and (iii) cooperated with the agency or person to whom the sexual assault was reported if he or she witnessed or reported the sexual assault of another person. (j) A person who meets the criteria of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (i) of this Section or a person who meets the criteria of paragraph (2) of subsection (i-5) of this Section shall be immune from criminal liability for an offense under subsection (d) or (e) of this Section."

IndianaMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "A law enforcement officer may not take a person into custody based solely on the commission of an offense involving alcohol described in subsection (b) if the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circ*mstances, reasonably believes that all of the following apply: (1) The law enforcement officer has contact with the person because the person: (A) either: (i) requested emergency medical assistance; or (ii) acted in concert with another person who requested emergency medical assistance; for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance; (B) is the victim of a reported sex offense (as defined in IC 11-8-8-5.2); or (C) witnessed and reported what the person reasonably believed to be a crime. (2) The person described in subdivision (1)(A), (1)(B), or (1)(C): (A) provided: (i) the person's full name; and (ii) any other relevant information requested by the law enforcement officer; and (B) in the case of a person described in subdivision (1)(A): (i) remained at the scene with the individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance until emergency medical assistance arrived; and (ii) cooperated with emergency medical assistance personnel and law enforcement officers at the scene. (b) A person who meets the criteria of subsection (a)(1) and (a)(2) is immune from criminal prosecution for an offense under: (1) section 3 of this chapter if the offense involved a state of intoxication caused by the person's use of alcohol; (2) section 6 of this chapter if the offense involved the person being, or becoming, intoxicated as a result of the person's use of alcohol; and (3) IC 7.1-5-7-7."Iowa

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MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "A person under legal age who consumes or possesses any alcoholic beverage in connection with a religious observance, ceremony, or rite.... A person or persons under legal age shall not purchase or attempt to purchase, consume, or individually or jointly have alcoholic beverages in their possession or control; except in the case of any alcoholic beverage given or dispensed to a person under legal age within a private home and with the knowledge, presence, and consent of the parent or guardian, for beverage or medicinal purposes or as administered to the person by either a physician or dentist for medicinal purposes and except to the extent that a person under legal age may handle alcoholic beverages during the regular course of the person’s employment by a liquor control licensee, or wine or beer permittee under this chapter."KansasMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "the possession and consumption of cereal malt beverage by a person under the legal age for consumption of cereal malt beverage when such possession and consumption is permitted and supervised, and such beverage is furnished, by the person's parent or legal guardian."

"A person and, if applicable, one or two other persons acting in concert with such person are immune from criminal prosecution for a violation of this section, and any city ordinance or county resolution prohibiting the acts prohibited by this section, if such person: (A) (i) Initiated contact with law enforcement or emergency medical services and requested medical assistance on such person's behalf because such person reasonably believed such person was in need of medical assistance; and (ii) cooperated with emergency medical services personnel and law enforcement officers in providing such medical assistance; (B) (i) initiated contact with law enforcement or emergency medical services, or was one of one or two other persons who acted in concert with such person, and requested medical assistance for another person who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance; (ii) provided their full name, the name of one or two other persons acting in concert with such person, if applicable, and any other relevant information requested by law enforcement or emergency medical services; (iii) remained at the scene with the person who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance until emergency medical services personnel and law enforcement officers arrived; and (iv) cooperated with emergency medical services personnel and law enforcement officers in providing such medical assistance; or (C) (i) was the person who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance as described in subsection (f)(1)(B), but did not initiate contact with law enforcement or emergency medical services; and (ii) cooperated with emergency medical services personnel and law enforcement officers in providing such medical assistance."

KentuckyMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "A person shall be immune from prosecution for the criminal offenses identified in subsection (2) of this section if: (a) A law enforcement officer has contact with the person because the person: 1. Requests emergency medical assistance for himself or herself or another
person; 2. Acts in concert with another person who requests emergency medical assistance; or 3. Appears to be in need of emergency medical assistance and is the individual for whom the request is made; (b) The request is made for an individual who reasonably appears to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; and (c) The person described in paragraph (a) of this subsection, if physically capable: 1. Provides his or her own full name if requested by emergency medical assistance personnel or law enforcement officers; 2. Provides any other relevant information requested by the law enforcement officer that is known to such person; 3. Remains with, or is, the individual who reasonably appears to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption until professional emergency medical assistance is provided; and 4. Cooperates with emergency medical assistance personnel and law
enforcement officers."Louisiana

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MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "A. A peace officer shall not take a person into custody based solely on the commission of an offense involving alcohol described in Subsection B of this Section if the peace officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circ*mstances, reasonably believes that all of the following apply: (1) The law enforcement officer has contact with the person because the person acting in good faith requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption and the person did not illegally provide alcohol to the individual. (2) The person: (a) Provided his full name and any other relevant information requested by the peace officer. (b) Remained at the scene with the individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption until emergency medical assistance arrived. (c) Cooperated with emergency medical assistance personnel and peace officers at the scene. B. A person who meets the criteria of Subsection A of this Section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for any offense related solely to the possession and consumption of alcohol."

"(2) "Public possession" means the possession of any alcoholic beverage for any reason, including consumption, on any street, highway, or waterway or in any public place or any place open to the public, including a club which is de facto open to the public. "Public possession" does not include the following: (a) The possession or consumption of any alcoholic beverage: (i) For an established religious purpose. (ii) When a person under twenty-one years of age is accompanied by a parent, spouse, or legal guardian twenty-one years of age or older. (iii) For medical purposes when purchased as an over the counter medication, or when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital, or medical institution. (iv) In a private residence, which shall include a residential dwelling and up to twenty contiguous acres, on which the dwelling is located, owned by the same person who owns the dwelling. (b) The sale, handling, transport, or service in dispensing of any alcoholic beverage pursuant to lawful ownership of an establishment or to lawful employment of a person under twenty-one years of age by a duly licensed manufacturer, wholesaler, or retailer of beverage alcohol. (3) "Purchase" means acquisition by the payment of money or other consideration. Purchase does not include such acquisition for medical purposes either when purchased as over the counter medication or when prescribed or administered by a licensed physician, pharmacist, dentist, nurse, hospital, or medical institution."

MaineMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "in a home in the presence of the minor's parent, legal guardian or custodian."

"It is a defense to prosecution under subsection 1 if in a situation that involved risk to the minor or to another person of overdose from the consumption of alcohol, including but not limited to extreme physical illness, decreased level of consciousness, respiratory depression, coma, mania or death from the consumption of alcohol: A. The minor in good faith sought medical or emergency treatment or assistance for the minor or the other person; or... B. The minor was the person for whom medical or emergency treatment or assistance was sought and the evidence of the violation of this section is obtained as a result of a person contacting emergency medical services or law enforcement."

MarylandMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: if "an adult furnishes the alcoholic beverage to the individual or allows the individual to possess or consume the alcoholic beverage; 2. the individual possessing or consuming the alcoholic beverage and the adult who furnished the alcoholic beverage to the individual or allowed the individual to possess or consume the alcoholic beverage are members of the same immediate family; and 3. the alcoholic beverage is furnished and consumed in a private residence of the adult or within the curtilage of the residence; or (ii) the individual consumes the alcoholic beverage as a participant in a religious ceremony."MassachusettsMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "For the purpose of this section the word 'furnish' shall mean to knowingly or intentionally supply, give, or provide to or allow a person under 21 years of age except for the children and grandchildren of the person being charged to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged."MichiganMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "(9) The following individuals are not considered to be in violation of subsection (1): (a) A minor who has consumed alcoholic liquor and who voluntarily presents himself or herself to a health facility or agency for treatment or for observation including, but not limited to, medical examination and treatment for any condition arising from a violation of sections 520b to 520g of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520b to 750.520g, committed against a minor. (b) A minor who accompanies an individual who meets both of the following criteria: (i) Has consumed alcoholic liquor. (ii) Voluntarily presents himself or herself to a health facility or agency for treatment or for observation including, but not limited to, medical examination and treatment for any condition arising from a violation of sections 520b to 520g of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.520b to 750.520g, committed against a minor. (c) A minor who initiates contact with a peace officer or emergency medical services personnel for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance for a legitimate health care concern."

"(12) The consumption of alcoholic liquor by a minor who is enrolled in a course offered by an accredited postsecondary educational institution in an academic building of the institution under the supervision of a faculty member is not prohibited by this act if the purpose of the consumption is solely educational and is a requirement of the course. (13) The consumption by a minor of sacramental wine in connection with religious services at a church, synagogue, or temple is not prohibited by this act.

"(14) Subsection (1) does not apply to a minor who participates in either or both of the following: (a) An undercover operation in which the minor purchases or receives alcoholic liquor under the direction of the person's employer and with the prior approval of the local prosecutor's office as part of an employer-sponsored internal enforcement action. (b) An undercover operation in which the minor purchases or receives alcoholic liquor under the direction of the state police, the commission, or a local police agency as part of an enforcement action unless the initial or contemporaneous purchase or receipt of alcoholic liquor by the minor was not under the direction of the state police, the commission, or the local police agency and was not part of the undercover operation."

MinnesotaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "If proven by a preponderance of the evidence, it is an affirmative defense to a violation of this clause that the defendant consumed the alcoholic beverage in the household of the defendant's parent or guardian and with the consent of the parent or guardian."

"(a) A person is not subject to prosecution under subdivision 1, paragraph (a), clause (2), or subdivision 3, if the person contacts a 911 operator to report that the person or another person is in need of medical assistance for an immediate health or safety concern, provided that the person who initiates contact is the first person to make such a report, provides a name and contact information, remains on the scene until assistance arrives, and cooperates with the authorities at the scene. (b) The person who receives medical assistance shall also be immune from prosecution under paragraph (a)."

MississippiMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "(1) A person who is at least eighteen (18) years of age but under the age of twenty-one (21) years may possess and consume light wine, light spirit product or beer with the consent of his parent or legal guardian in the presence of his parent or legal guardian, and it shall not be unlawful for the parent, legal guardian or spouse of such person to furnish light wine, light spirit product or beer to such person who is at least eighteen (18) years of age. (2) A person who is at least eighteen (18) years of age and who is serving in the armed services of the United States may lawfully possess and consume light wine, light spirit product or beer on military property where the consumption of light wine, light spirit product or beer is allowed."MissouriMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "4. The provisions of this section shall not apply to a student who: (1) Is eighteen years of age or older; (2) Is enrolled in an accredited college or university and is a student in a culinary course; (3) Is required to taste, but not consume or imbibe, any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage as part of the required curriculum; and (4) Tastes a beverage under subdivision (3) of this subsection only for instructional purposes during classes that are part of the curriculum of the accredited college or university. The beverage must at all times remain in the possession and control of an authorized instructor of the college or university, who must be twenty-one years of age or older. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to allow a student under the age of twenty-one to receive any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage unless the beverage is delivered as part of the student's required curriculum and the beverage is used only for instructional purposes during classes conducted as part of the curriculum."Montana

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MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "Except in the case of an alcoholic beverage provided in a nonintoxicating quantity to a person under 21 years of age by the person's parent or guardian, physician or dentist for medicinal purposes, a licensed pharmacist upon the prescription of a physician, or an ordained minister or priest in connection with a religious observance, a person may not sell or otherwise provide an alcoholic beverage to a person under 21 years of age."

"Information provided or statements made by a person under 21 years of age to a health care provider or law enforcement personnel regarding an alleged offense against that person under Title 45, chapter 5, part 5, may not be used in a prosecution of that person under this section. This subsection's protection also extends to a person who helps the victim obtain medical or other assistance or report the offense to law enforcement personnel. (10)(a) A person under 21 years of age may not be charged or prosecuted under subsection (1) if: (i) the person has consumed an intoxicating substance and seeks medical treatment at a health care facility or contacts law enforcement personnel or an emergency medical service provider for the purpose of seeking medical treatment; (ii) the person accompanies another person under 21 years of age who has consumed an intoxicating substance and seeks medical treatment at a health care facility or contacts law enforcement personnel or an emergency medical service provider for the purpose of seeking medical treatment for the other person; or (iii) the person requires medical treatment as a result of consuming an intoxicating substance and evidence of a violation of this section is obtained during the course of seeking or receiving medical treatment."

Nebraska

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MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "a minor may consume, possess, or have physical control of alcoholic liquor as a part of a bona fide religious rite, ritual, or ceremony or in his or her permanent place of residence."

"Nothing in the act shall prevent: (1) The possession of alcoholic liquor legally obtained as provided in the act for the personal use of the possessor and his or her family and guests.... (3) Any duly licensed practicing physician or dentist from possessing or using alcoholic liquor in the strict practice of his or her profession, any hospital or other institution caring for the sick and diseased persons from possessing and using alcoholic liquor for the treatment of bona fide patients of such hospital or other institution, or any drug store employing a licensed pharmacist from possessing or using alcoholic liquor in the compounding of prescriptions of licensed physicians; (4) The possession and dispensation of alcoholic liquor by an authorized representative of any religion on the premises of a place of worship, for the purpose of conducting any bona fide religious rite, ritual, or ceremony."

NevadaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: " 4. A person under 21 years of age is not subject to the criminal penalty set forth in subsection 1 for consuming an alcoholic beverage or subsection 2 if the person requests emergency medical assistance for another person whom he or she reasonably believes is under 21 years of age if the person making the request: (a)Reasonably believes that the person who consumed the alcohol is in need of such assistance because of the alcohol consumption; (b)Is the first person to request emergency medical assistance for the person; (c) Remains with the person until informed that his or her presence is no longer necessary by the emergency medical personnel who respond to the request for assistance for the person; and (d) Cooperates with any provider of emergency medical assistance, any other health care provider who assists the person who may be in need of emergency medical assistance because of alcohol consumption and any law enforcement officer. 5. A person under 21 years of age for whom another person requests emergency medical assistance pursuant to subsection 4 is not subject to the criminal penalty set forth in subsection 1 for consuming an alcoholic beverage or subsection 2. 6.  A person under 21 years of age is not subject to the criminal penalty set forth in subsection 1 for consuming an alcoholic beverage or subsection 2 if the person: (a) Requests emergency medical assistance because he or she reasonably believes that he or she is in need of medical assistance because of alcohol consumption; and (b) Cooperates with any provider of emergency medical assistance, any other health care provider who provides assistance to him or her and any law enforcement officer."

"8. For the purposes of this section, possession “in public” ...does not include: (a) Possession for an established religious purpose; (b) Possession in the presence of the person’s parent, spouse or legal guardian who is 21 years of age or older; (c) Possession in accordance with a prescription issued by a person statutorily authorized to issue prescriptions; (d) Possession in private clubs or private establishments; or (e) The selling, handling, serving or transporting of alcoholic beverages by a person in the course of his or her lawful employment by a licensed manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer of alcoholic beverages."

New HampshireMLDA is 21 with no exceptions.New Jersey

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MLDA is 21 with the following exception: "An underage person and one or two other persons shall be immune from prosecution under this section if: (1) one of the underage persons called 9-1-1 and reported that another underage person was in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, or the consumption of marijuana, hashish, or a cannabis item; (2) the underage person who called 9-1-1 and, if applicable, one or two other persons acting in concert with the underage person who called 9-1-1 provided each of their names to the 9-1-1 first responder dispatcher; (3) the underage person was the first person to make the 9-1-1 report; and (4) the underage person and, if applicable, one or two other persons acting in concert with the underage person who made the 9-1-1 call remained on the scene with the person under the legal age in need of medical assistance until assistance arrived and cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel on the scene. The underage person who received medical assistance also shall be immune from prosecution under this section."

"This subsection shall not apply to a parent or guardian of the person under legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages if the parent or guardian is of the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages or to a religious observance, ceremony or rite. This subsection shall also not apply to any person in his home who is of the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages who offers or serves or makes available an alcoholic beverage to a person under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages or entices that person to drink an alcoholic beverage in the presence of and with the permission of the parent or guardian of the person under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages if the parent or guardian is of the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages. b. A person who makes real property owned, leased or managed by him available to, or leaves that property in the care of, another person with the purpose that alcoholic beverages will be made available for consumption by, or will be consumed by, persons who are under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. This subsection shall not apply if: (1) the real property is licensed or required to be licensed by the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in accordance with the provisions of R.S.33:1-1 et seq.; (2) the person making the property available, or leaving it in the care of another person, is of the legal age to consume alcoholic beverages and is the parent or guardian of the person who consumes alcoholic beverages while under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages; or (3) the alcoholic beverages are consumed by a person under the legal age for consuming alcoholic beverages during a religious observance, ceremony or rite."

New MexicoMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "It is not a violation of the Liquor Control Act, as provided in Subsection A or C of this section, when: (1) a parent, legal guardian or adult spouse of a minor serves alcoholic beverages to that minor on real property, other than licensed premises, under the control of the parent, legal guardian or adult spouse; or (2) alcoholic beverages are used in the practice of religious beliefs."New York

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MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "A person under the age of twenty-one years may possess any
alcoholic beverage with intent to consume if the alcoholic beverage is given: (a) to a person who is a student in a curriculum licensed or registered by the state education department and the student is required to taste or imbibe alcoholic beverages in courses which are a part of the required curriculum, provided such alcoholic beverages are used only for instructional purposes during class conducted pursuant to such curriculum; or (b) to the person under twenty-one years of age by that person's parent or guardian."

"A person who is experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other life threatening medical emergency and, in good faith, seeks health care for himself or herself or is the subject of such a good faith request for health care, shall not be charged or prosecuted for a controlled substance offense under this article, ...other than an offense involving sale for consideration or other benefit or gain, or charged or prosecuted for possession of alcohol by a person under age twenty-one years under section sixty-five-c of the alcoholic beverage control law... or for possession of drug paraphernalia under article thirty-nine of the general business law, with respect to any substance, cannabis, alcohol or paraphernalia that was obtained as a result of such seeking or receiving of health care."

North Carolina

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The MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "Under the direct supervision of an instructor during a culinary class that is part of an established culinary curriculum at an accredited college or university, the delivery to or possession or consumption by a student who is less than 21 years of age, when the student is required to taste or imbibe the alcoholic beverage during a culinary class conducted pursuant to the curriculum."

"Exception. – Notwithstanding the provisions in this section, it is not unlawful for a person less than 21 years old to consume unfortified wine or fortified wine during participation in an exempted activity

"18B-302.2. Medical treatment; limited immunity. (a) Limited Immunity for Samaritan. – Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person under the age of 21 shall not be prosecuted for a violation of G.S. 18B-302 for the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages if all of the following requirements and conditions are met: (1) The person sought medical assistance for an individual experiencing an alcohol-related overdose by contacting the 911 system, a law enforcement officer, or emergency medical services personnel. (1a) The person acted in good faith when seeking medical assistance, upon a reasonable belief that he or she was the first to call for assistance. (2) The person provided his or her own name to the 911 system or to a law enforcement officer upon arrival.... (4) The person did not seek the medical assistance during the course of the execution of an arrest warrant, search warrant, or other lawful search. (5) The evidence for prosecution of a violation of G.S. 18B-302 for the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages was obtained as a result of the person seeking medical assistance for the alcohol-related overdose. (b) Limited Immunity for Overdose Victim. – The immunity described in subsection (a) of this section shall extend to the person who needed medical assistance if the requirements in
subdivisions (1), (1a), (4), and (5) of subsection (a) are satisfied."

North DakotaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "an individual under twenty-one years of age may not manufacture or attempt to manufacture, purchase or attempt to purchase, consume or have recently consumed other than during a religious service, be under the influence of, be in possession of, or furnish money to any individual for the purchase of an alcoholic beverage."

"An individual under twenty-one years of age is immune from criminal prosecution under this section if that individual contacted law enforcement or emergency medical services and reported that another individual under twenty-one years of age was in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption, provided assistance to the individual in need of medical assistance until assistance arrived and remained on the scene, or was the individual in need of medical assistance and cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel on the scene. The maximum number of individuals who may be immune for any one occurrence is five individuals."

Ohio

see also

MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "(O) The possession or consumption of beer or intoxicating liquor by a person who is under twenty-one years of age and who is a student at an accredited college or university, provided that both of the following apply:(1) The person is required to taste and expectorate the beer or intoxicating liquor for a culinary, food service, or hospitality course. (2) The person is under the direct supervision of the instructor of the culinary, food service, or hospitality course."

"Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall sell beer or intoxicating liquor to an underage person, shall buy beer or intoxicating liquor for an underage person, or shall furnish it to an underage person, unless given by a physician in the regular line of the physician's practice or given for established religious purposes or unless the underage person is supervised by a parent, spouse who is not an underage person, or legal guardian."

Oklahoma

see also

MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "A. A peace officer may not take a person into custody based solely on the commission of an offense involving alcohol described in subsection B of this section if the law enforcement officer, after making a reasonable determination and considering the facts and surrounding circ*mstances, reasonably believes that all of the following apply: 1. The law enforcement officer has contact with the person because the person requested emergency medical assistance for an individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption; and 2. The person: a.provided the person's full name and any other relevant information requested by the law enforcement officer, b.remained at the scene with the individual who reasonably appeared to be in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption until emergency medical assistance arrived, and c.cooperated with emergency medical assistance personnel and law enforcement officers at the scene. B. A person who meets the criteria of subsection A of this section is immune from criminal prosecution for an offense under Section 8 of Title 37 of the Oklahoma Statutes if the offense involved a state of intoxication caused by the person's use of alcohol or if the offense involved the person being, or becoming, intoxicated as a result of the person's use of alcohol."

"It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of twenty-one (21) years to be in the possession of any intoxicating beverage containing more than three and two-tenths percent (3.2%) alcohol by weight or any low-point beer as defined by Section 163.2 of Title 37 of the Oklahoma Statutes while such person is upon any public street, road, or highway or in any public building or place."

OregonMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "No one other than the person’s parent or guardian may sell, give or otherwise make available any alcoholic liquor to a person under the age of 21 years. A parent or guardian may give or otherwise make alcoholic liquor available to a person under the age of 21 years only if the person is in a private residence and is accompanied by the parent or guardian."

"a person who is 18, 19 or 20 years of age may possess and consume alcoholic beverages on a licensed or unlicensed premises that an education provider uses for educational purposes if: (a) The person is enrolled as a student in a required or elective class that is part of a food or beverage career program offered by the education provider; (b) The person possesses and consumes the alcoholic beverages for educational purposes as part of the class curriculum or, with the approval of the education provider, as part of a workshop or seminar concerning food or beverage workforce training; (c) The person possesses and consumes the alcoholic beverages under the supervision of a faculty or staff member of the education provider who is 21 years of age or older; (d) The person does not purchase the alcoholic beverages; and (e) The amount consumed by the person during any two-hour class, workshop or seminar period does not exceed two ounces of alcohol equivalence."

"(1)(a) A person who contacts emergency medical services or a law enforcement agency to report a sexual assault crime, or to obtain medical or law enforcement assistance for a victim of a sexual assault crime, is immune from arrest or prosecution for a violation of ORS 471.430 if the evidence of the violation was obtained because the person contacted emergency medical services or a law enforcement agency. (b) A person who is the victim of a sexual assault crime is immune from arrest or prosecution for a violation of ORS 471.430 if the evidence of the violation was obtained because any person contacted emergency medical services or a law enforcement agency to report the crime or to obtain medical or law enforcement assistance for the victim.

PennsylvaniaMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "An individual shall not be prosecuted for an offense under section 6308(a) (relating to purchase, consumption, possession or transportation of liquor or malt or brewed beverages) if the individual can establish all of the following: (1) A law enforcement officer first became aware of the individual's violation of section 6308(a) because the individual placed a 911 call or contacted campus security, police or emergency services, based on a reasonable belief that another individual was in need of immediate medical attention to prevent death or serious bodily injury. (2) The individual reasonably believed the individual was the first individual to make a 911 call or contact campus security, police or emergency services and report that the other individual needed immediate medical attention to prevent death or serious bodily injury. (3) The individual provided the individual's own name to the 911 operator or equivalent campus security officer, police or emergency services personnel. (4) The individual remained with the other individual needing medical assistance until a campus security officer, police or emergency services personnel arrived and the need for the individual's presence ended. (b) Immunity for the individual needing medical attention.--An individual needing medical attention shall be immune under this section from prosecution for an offense under section 6308(a) if another individual reported the incident and remained with the individual needing medical attention and is entitled to immunity under this section. (c) Limitations.--The immunity described under this section shall be limited as follows: (1) This section may not bar prosecuting a person for an offense under section 6308(a) if a law enforcement officer learns of the offense prior to and independent of the action of seeking or obtaining emergency assistance as described in subsection (a). (2) This section shall not interfere with or prevent the investigation, arrest, charging or prosecution of an individual for a crime other than an offense under section 6308(a). (3) This section shall not bar the admissibility of evidence in connection with the investigation and prosecution for a crime other than an offense under section 6308(a). (4) This section shall not bar the admissibility of evidence in connection with the investigation and prosecution of a crime with regard to another defendant who does not independently qualify for immunity under this section."Rhode Island

see also

MLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "use, consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages by a minor for religious purposes; or to a parent or legal guardian procuring or furnishing alcohol to, or permitting the consumption of alcohol by, his or her minor child or ward."

"This chapter does not apply to a person who gives or causes to be given any alcoholic beverage to a student under the age of twenty-one (21) years, nor does this chapter apply to any of these students who receives any alcoholic beverage, if the beverage is delivered in a curriculum at an accredited college in which the student is required to taste or imbibe alcoholic beverages in courses which are part of the required curriculum, provided these alcoholic beverages are used only for instructional purposes during classes conducted pursuant to this curriculum."

South CarolinaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "The provisions of this section do not apply to a student who: (1) is eighteen years of age or older; (2) is enrolled in an accredited college or university and a student in a culinary course that has been approved through review by the State Commission on Higher Education; (3) is required to taste, but not consume or imbibe, any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage as part of the required curriculum; and (4) tastes a beverage pursuant to item (3) only for instructional purposes during classes that are part of the curriculum of the accredited college or university. The beverage must remain at all times in the possession and control of an authorized instructor of the college or university who must be twenty-one years of age or older. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to allow a student under the age of twenty-one to receive any beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage unless the beverage is delivered as part of the student's required curriculum and the beverage is used only for instructional purposes during classes conducted pursuant to the curriculum. (F) The provisions of this section do not apply to a person under the age of twenty-one who is recruited and authorized by a law enforcement agency to test an establishment's compliance with laws relating to the unlawful transfer or sale of beer or wine to a minor. The testing must be under the direct supervision of a law enforcement agency, and the agency must have the person's parental consent."

"The provisions of this section do not apply to a student who: (1) is eighteen years of age or older; (2) is enrolled in an accredited college or university and a student in a culinary course that has been approved through review by the State Commission on Higher Education; (3) is required to taste, but not consume or imbibe, any alcoholic liquor as part of the required curriculum; and (4) tastes the liquor pursuant to item (3) only for instructional purposes during classes that are part of the curriculum of the accredited college or university. The alcoholic liquor must remain at all times in the possession and control of an authorized instructor of the college or university who must be twenty-one years of age or older. Nothing in this subsection may be construed to allow a student under the age of twenty-one to receive alcoholic liquor unless it is delivered as part of the student's required curriculum, and it is used only for instructional purposes during classes conducted pursuant to the curriculum. (E) The provisions of this section do not apply to a person under the age of twenty-one who is recruited and authorized by a law enforcement agency to test an establishment's compliance with the laws relating to the unlawful transfer or sale of alcoholic liquors to a minor. The testing must be under the direct supervision of a law enforcement agency, and the agency must have the person's parental consent."

"No provision of law prohibiting the use or possession of beer, wine, or alcoholic beverages by minors shall apply to any minor in the home of his parents or guardian or to any such beverage used for religious ceremonies or purposes so long as such beverage was legally purchased."

South DakotaMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "It is a Class 2 misdemeanor to sell or give for use as a beverage any alcoholic beverage to any person who is eighteen years of age or older but less than twenty-one years of age unless it is done in the immediate presence of a parent or guardian or spouse over twenty-one years of age or by prescription or direction of a duly licensed practitioner or nurse of the healing arts for medicinal purposes."

"It is a Class 2 misdemeanor for any person under the age of twenty-one years to purchase, attempt to purchase, or possess or consume alcoholic beverages except pursuant to § 35-9-1.1 or when consumed in a religious ceremony and given to the person by an authorized person"

"No person may be arrested or prosecuted for any misdemeanor offense of underage consumption, open container, or public intoxication, arising out of underage consumption of alcohol if that person contacts any law enforcement or emergency medical services and reports that a person is in need of emergency medical assistance due to alcohol consumption and that person: (1) Assists the person in need of emergency medical assistance until assistance arrives; and (2) Remains and cooperates with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel on the scene."

"No person under the age of twenty-one years may be prosecuted for any misdemeanor offense of underage consumption, open container, or public intoxication, arising out of underage consumption of alcohol if that person contacts law enforcement or emergency medical services and reports that he or she is in need of medical assistance due to alcohol consumption and that person remains and cooperates with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel on the scene."

TennesseeMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "it is unlawful for any person under twenty-one (21) years of age to purchase, possess, transport or consume tobacco, smoking hemp, or vapor products, alcoholic beverages, wine, or beer, with the following exceptions: (1) Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older may transport, possess, sell, or dispense tobacco, smoking hemp, or vapor products, alcoholic beverages, wine, or beer in the course of such person's employment; and (2) The provisions of § 39-17-705(1) shall not be affected by any provision of subsection (b), it being the intent of the general assembly that such provisions remain lawful and in full force and effect. Any such priest or minister may utilize and administer alcohol or wine at a communion service, bat mitzvah, bar mitzvah, or other similar religious service or ceremony, in accordance with the practices of such denomination or sect."TexasMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "(a) A minor commits an offense if he consumes an alcoholic beverage. (b) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the alcoholic beverage was consumed in the visible presence of the minor's adult parent, guardian, or spouse.... (e) Subsection (a) does not apply to a minor who: (1) requested emergency medical assistance in response to the possible alcohol overdose of the minor or another person; (2) was the first person to make a request for medical assistance under Subdivision (1); and (3) if the minor requested emergency medical assistance for the possible alcohol overdose of another person: (A) remained on the scene until the medical assistance arrived; and (B) cooperated with medical assistance and law enforcement personnel. (f) Except as provided by Subsection (g), Subsection (a) does not apply to a minor who reports the sexual assault of the minor or another person, or is the victim of a sexual assault reported by another person, to: (1) a health care provider treating the victim of the sexual assault; (2) an employee of a law enforcement agency, including an employee of a campus police department of an institution of higher education; or (3) the Title IX coordinator of an institution of higher education or another employee of the institution responsible for responding to reports of sexual assault. (g) A minor is entitled to raise the defense provided by Subsection (f) in the prosecution of an offense under this section only if the minor is in violation of this section at the time of the commission of a sexual assault that is: (1) reported by the minor under Subsection (f); or (2) committed against the minor and reported by another person under Subsection (f). (h) A minor who commits a sexual assault that is reported under Subsection (f) is not entitled to raise the defense provided by Subsection (f) in the prosecution of the minor for an offense under this section."UtahMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "This section does not apply to a minor's consumption of an alcoholic product in accordance with this title: (a) for medicinal purposes if: (i) the minor is at least 18 years old; or (ii) the alcoholic product is furnished by: (A) the parent or guardian of the minor; or (B) the minor's health care practitioner, if the health care practitioner is authorized by law to write a prescription; or (b) as part of a religious organization's religious services."VermontMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "A student 18 years of age or older who is enrolled in a postsecondary education culinary arts program, accredited by a commission recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, shall be exempt from the provisions of this title while attending classes that require the possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages."VirginiaMLDA is 21 with the following exception: "Any person who keeps and possesses lawfully acquired alcoholic beverages in his residence for his personal use or that of his family. However, such alcoholic beverages may be served or given to guests in such residence by such person, his family or servants when (i) such guests are 21 years of age or older or are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is 21 years of age or older, (ii) the consumption or possession of such alcoholic beverages by family members or such guests occurs only in such residence where the alcoholic beverages are allowed to be served or given pursuant to this subdivision, and (iii) such service or gift is in no way a shift or device to evade the provisions of this subtitle. The provisions of this subdivision shall not apply when a person serves or provides alcoholic beverages to a guest occupying the residence as the lessee of a short-term rental, as that term is defined in § 15.2-983, regardless of whether the person who permanently resides in the residence is present during the short-term rental.WashingtonMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "(3) Subsections (1) and (2)(a) of this section do not apply to liquor given or permitted to be given to a person under the age of twenty-one years by a parent or guardian and consumed in the presence of the parent or guardian. This subsection shall not authorize consumption or possession of liquor by a person under the age of twenty-one years on any premises licensed under chapter 66.24 RCW. (4) This section does not apply to liquor given for medicinal purposes to a person under the age of twenty-one years by a parent, guardian, physician, or dentist. (5) This section does not apply to liquor given to a person under the age of twenty-one years when such liquor is being used in connection with religious services and the amount consumed is the minimal amount necessary for the religious service. (6) This section does not apply to liquor provided to students under twenty-one years of age in accordance with a special permit issued under RCW 66.20.010(12). (7)(a) A person under the age of twenty-one years acting in good faith who seeks medical assistance for someone experiencing alcohol poisoning shall not be charged or prosecuted under subsection (2)(a) of this section, if the evidence for the charge was obtained as a result of the person seeking medical assistance. (b) A person under the age of twenty-one years who experiences alcohol poisoning and is in need of medical assistance shall not be charged or prosecuted under subsection (2)(a) of this section, if the evidence for the charge was obtained as a result of the poisoning and need for medical assistance."West VirginiaMLDA is 21 with no exceptions.WisconsinMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "any underage person not accompanied by his or her parent, guardian or spouse who has attained the legal drinking age who knowingly possesses or consumes alcohol beverages is guilty of a violation."

"Subject to par. (c), an underage person may not be issued a citation for, or convicted of, a violation of sub. (4) (a) or (b) if all of the following apply: 1. The underage person is a crime victim or bystander and either the crime victim or the bystander requested emergency assistance, by dialing the telephone number “911" or by other means, in connection with the alleged crime or the underage person encountered a law enforcement officer at a medical facility at which the crime victim received treatment in connection with the alleged crime. 2. The underage person remains at the scene until emergency assistance arrives and thereafter cooperates with providers of emergency assistance, including furnishing any requested information, unless the underage person lacks capacity to cooperate when emergency medical assistance arrives. If the underage person encounters a law enforcement officer at a medical facility, the underage person cooperates with the officer and furnishes any requested information, unless the underage person lacks capacity to cooperate with the officer. (c) Paragraph (b) does not apply to an underage person who requests emergency assistance, by dialing the telephone number “911" or by other means, with an intention to claim the protections under par. (b) and knowing that the fact situation that he or she reports does not exist."

"No adult may knowingly permit or fail to take action to prevent the illegal consumption of alcohol beverages by an underage person on property, including any premises, owned and occupied by the adult or occupied by the adult and under the adult's control. This subdivision applies at a lodging establishment, as defined in s. 106.52 (1) (d), only if the adult has furnished payment or security for lodging. This subdivision does not apply to alcohol beverages used exclusively as part of a religious service."

WyomingMLDA is 21 with the following exceptions: "This section shall not apply to possession of alcoholic liquor or malt beverages or consumption of ethyl alcohol by a person under the age of twenty-one (21) years in accordance with this title: (i) Who is in the physical presence of his parent, spouse or legal guardian who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older; (ii) As part of a church's or religious organization's religious services; or (iii) For medicinal purposes if the alcoholic liquor, malt beverage or ethyl alcohol is furnished: (A) By the person's parent, spouse or legal guardian who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older; or (B) Pursuant to a lawful prescription."
State-by-State MLDA Exceptions - Drinking Age - ProCon.org (2024)

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