Underage Drinking

Rhode Island’s Alcohol Offenses 

In Rhode Island, the legal age for drinking and possessing alcohol is 21 years-old. Underage persons in possession of alcohol and/or drinking alcohol could face serious legal consequences in Rhode Island. Persons of legal age could also face criminal charges if they procure alcohol for an underage person under R.I.G.L. §3-8-11.1 Procurement of Alcohol to Minor. Two of the more common alcohol related charges that Underage persons could face are Misrepresentation of Age R.I.G.L. §3-8-6 and Possession of Alcohol by Minor R.I.G.L. §3-8-10. Further, most cities and towns prohibit the possession of alcohol by a minor and drinking in public in their ordinances. If you are faced with being charged with one of these offenses, you need the experience of Attorney Peter Calo to best represent you and your interests.

Misrepresentation of Age R.I.G.L. §3-8-6

A person who has not attained the age of 21 is prohibited, under this statute, from entering a liquor store or drinking establishment for the purpose of drinking alcohol. It further prohibits a person from misrepresenting his or her age, such as using a fake ID, in order to enter a drinking establishment or to purchase alcohol from a liquor store.

Penalty

This offense is a petty misdemeanor with substantial fines, especially for subsequent offenses, and mandatory license suspension. Community service is also possible for subsequent offenses.

  • First Violation
    • $100 to $500 fine
    • Operator’s License Suspended for up to 30 Days
  • Second Violation
    • $500 to $750 fine
    • Operator’s License Suspended for 90 Days
    • 40 Hours of Community Service
  • Third and Subsequent Violations
    • $750 to $1000 fine
    • Operator’s License Suspended for 1 Year
    • 50 Hours of Community Service

Possession of Alcohol by Minor R.I.G.L. §3-8-10

This statute makes it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 years to be in possession of alcohol. This applies to being in possession of alcohol even if in one’s home. There are certain exemptions to this statute which is why you need an experienced attorney, like Peter Calo, to represent you if you are charged with this offense.

Penalty

This offense is a petty misdemeanor with substantial fines, especially for subsequent offenses, and license suspension. Significant community service time may also be imposed as a result of being charged with this offense.  Contact Peter Calo today should you or someone you know be charged with any of these crimes for a free consultation.

  • First Offense
    • $150 to $750 Fine
    • Operator’s License Suspended for a Minimum of 60 Days
    • 30 Hours of Community Service
  • Second Offense
    • $300 to $750 Fine
    • Operator’s License Suspended for a Minimum of 60 Days
    • 30 Hours of Community Service
  • Third and Subsequent Offense
    • $450 to $950 Fine
    • Operator’s License Suspended for a Minimum of 60 Days
    • 30 Hours of Community Service

Most cities and towns also have ordinances that prohibit minors from possessing or consuming alcohol. Further, most cities and towns prohibit an open container of alcohol in public, regardless of the person’s age. The amount of fines varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but in general the fine is a minimum of $500 for an ordinance violation plus court costs which is an additional $100.

Furnishing or Procuring of Alcohol for Underage Persons (Social Host Law) R.I.G.L. §3-8-11.1

Unlike the two above statutes, this statute applies to persons over 21 years-old as well as those under 21 years-old. This statute has the colloquial name of the “Social Host” law. That is because this law prohibits a person from hosting an alcohol party for underage persons. In particular, the statute prohibits a person from furnishing or procuring alcohol for an underage person. Rhode Island recently changed this law and made it not only illegal to furnish or procure the alcohol for a minor but also made it illegal for a person to permit a minor to consume alcohol on his or her property. “Permit,” under this law, means to give permission for, or approval of, the possession or consumption of an alcoholic beverage by any form of conduct, that would cause a reasonable person to believe that permission or approval has been given.

Penalty

This is a serious offense!! The penalties for this offense range from a civil violation to a felony! There are also certain exemptions to the law. If you are charged with this crime, you need an experienced attorney like Peter Calo to protect your rights and provide you with a vigorous defense to ensure the best outcome possible.

  • Civil Violation: Persons between 18 and 21 only
    • A person between the ages of 18 and 21 years may face only a civil violation of up to $500, 30 hours community service and alcohol education program
    • The law states “may,” therefore, an underage person is not guaranteed a civil sanction. To ensure the best possible outcome if you are charged with this crime, contact Attorney Peter Calo today
  • Criminal Offense: Persons Over 21 Years Old
    • First Offense: Petty Misdemeanor
      • $350 to $1000 Fine
      • Imprisoned for up to 6 months
    • Second Offense: Misdemeanor
      • $750 to $1000 Fine
      • Imprisoned for up to 1 Year
    • Third and Subsequent Offense: Felony
      • $1000 to $2500 Fine
      • Imprisoned up to 3 Years