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When is underage possession of alcohol not a crime?

Beer, wine and liquor are a big part of life in Georgia, from weekend barbecues to relaxing in local bars. As in most of the country, the Peach State restricts alcohol possession to adults age 21 or older. Younger people can find themselves in legal trouble if they are discovered in possession of any alcoholic beverage.

They may face additional criminal charges if they are caught using a false identification or someone else's identification to show an age above 21. This is a criminal offense in Georgia, and bartenders or retailers are allowed to seize identification cards that appear fake and present them to law enforcement as evidence.

There are some circumstances in which underage people can handle alcohol legally. For example, bartenders and servers at restaurants may work at establishments during hours in which alcohol is served if they are 18 years old or older. If they attempt to possess or consume alcohol at work or from work, however, they may be guilty of underage possession.

In most cases, it's illegal to give alcohol to an underage person in Georgia. However, there are limited exceptions --most of which involve the parents or guardians of a minor in their place of residence. Parents are allowed to expose children to alcohol in a responsible manner and under their own supervision.

If someone unknowingly consumes alcohol, either by accident or because of a prank by an acquaintance, the court may consider this to be an extenuating circumstance. The best strategy when a minor is facing charges of possession of alcohol is to seek legal representation. An attorney can help advise you on a response to these and other criminal charges.

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