Much like other states, Georgia restricts underage drinking by setting a minimum age for the purchase or consumption of alcohol. There are very limited situations in which a person below the age of 21 may legally drink, such as under the supervision of parents or guardians, but minors are enjoined from drinking under most circumstances in Georgia.
The problem of alcohol availability, however, is not the responsibility of minors in Georgia. Distributors of alcohol, like liquor store employees and bartenders, have a legal responsibility to check the age of any potential customer to ensure they have reached the legal age.
Law enforcement organizations across the Peach State will often conduct snap inspections of alcohol sellers to see if they are fulfilling these responsibilities. Police in Newton County recently sent undercover customers, who are below the legal age to drink, to more than 30 businesses with alcohol sales licenses. Eight of these businesses sold alcohol to underage customers during the operation.
"We keep people guessing and we make sure that at all times they are in compliance with the law," said a member of the Covington Police Department. "It's something, obviously, we need to work closely with these businesses to make sure it doesn't occur again." Individuals are generally held responsible for selling alcohol to minors, but businesses can lose their license after multiple instances.
Minors accused of drinking illegally may have a defense against these and related charges. An attorney can represent a minor's interests in court and help work with prosecutors or law enforcement officers on working out the particulars of a case.