Unlawful Consumption of Alcohol

Young people can face harsh penalties if they commit an alcohol-related offense, including being a minor in possession of an alcoholic beverage or unlawful consumption. High school and college students can also face an expulsion or change in placement during a disciplinary hearing at their school, college or university.

Defenses to the minor in possession offenses are found in Utah Code Section 32B-4-409(9). The penalties do not apply to the minors possession or consumption of an alcoholic product for medicinal purposes if:

  • the minor is at least 18 years old; or
  • the alcoholic product is furnished by:
    • the parent or guardian of the minor;
    • the minor's health care practitioner, if the health care practitioner is authorized by law to write a prescription; or
    • as part of a religious organization's religious services.

In some cases, law enforcement officers in Salt Lake City, UT, will set up elaborate sting operations. The sting operations often occur outside sporting events or in bars and clubs where the officers can catch young people in possession of an alcoholic beverage.

Attorneys for Minor in Possession of Alcohol in Salt Lake City, UT

If you were charged with being a minor in possession or another alcohol-related offense, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, LLP in Salt Lake City. 

With offices in Salt Lake City, our criminal defense attorneys represent clients charged with alcohol related offenses in Salt Lake County and the surrounding counties of Tooele County, Utah County, Wasatch County, Summit County, Morgan County, and Davis County. From our offices in Beaver County, we also represent clients throughout the western portions of Utah including Millard County, Iron County, Sevier County and Piute County.

Call (801) 532-5297 today.



Back to top

Elements of Minor in Alcohol Possession Crimes

Utah Code Section 32B-4-409, superseded July 1, 2018, provides that it is unlawful for a minor child to purchase, possess or consume alcohol or have any measurable amount of alcohol in the body. Under Utah Code Section 32B-4-409, it is unlawful for a minor child to do any of the following:

  • possess an alcoholic beverage or product;
  • have measurable blood, breath, or urine alcohol concentration in the minor's body;
  • consume an alcoholic beverage or product;
  • purchase an alcoholic beverage or product;
  • attempt to purchase an alcoholic product; or
  • solicit another person to purchase an alcoholic product.

For the purpose of purchasing or otherwise obtaining an alcoholic product for a minor as provided in Utah Code Section 32B-4-409(2), it is unlawful to do any of the following:

  • for a minor to misrepresent the minor's age; or
  • for any other person to misrepresent the age of a minor; or
  • for a minor to possess or consume an alcoholic product while riding in a limousine or chartered bus.

Utah Code Section 32B-4-409(4) provides that if a minor is found by a court to have violated this section and the violation is the minor's first violation of this section, the court may (but is not required to) impose any of the following penalties:

  • order the minor to complete an educational series as defined in Section 41-6a-501 or substance abuse treatment as indicated by an assessment;
  • order the minor to complete an assessment as defined in Section 41-6a-501 if the screening indicates an assessment to be appropriate; and
  • order the minor to complete a screening as defined in Section 41-6a-501.

For a second or subsequent violation, Utah Code Section 32B-4-409(4)(b) requires the court to order the minor to do the following:

  • complete an educational series as defined in Section 41-6a-501 or substance abuse treatment as indicated by an assessment;
  • complete an assessment as defined in Section 41-6a-501 if the screening indicates an assessment to be appropriate; and
  • complete a screening as defined in Section 41-6a-501.

Back to top

Consequences of Underaged Drinking

If you are accused of possession or consumption of alcohol or for being in a bar and being under the age of 21, a conviction will result in your driver license being suspended for one year for a first offense. A second or subsequent conviction will result in a two year suspension.

For an offense that occurs when the driver is under the age of 16, the suspension of the driver's license begins on the date of the conviction but is extended for one to two years after the 16th birthday.


Back to top

Utah's "Not a Drop" Act

The "Not a Drop" Act in Utah provides as follows:

  • If the driver has not yet been issued a driver's license, the driving privilege will be suspended even before the young person obtains a driver's license;
  • When the driver is under 21, the length of the suspension is for six (6) month for a first offense or for two years for a second or subsequent offense;
  • If the driver is under 21 years of age and driving with any measurable amount of alcohol in their body will have all driving privileges denied for a first offense for six (6) months; and
  • A second or subsequent offense within ten (10) years of a prior denial will result in loss of driving privileges for two years, or until they reach the age of 21, whichever is longer.

After a suspension for a Not-A-Drop offense, before you will be allowed to reinstate your driving privileges, you must provide:

  • proof of successful completion of an alcohol assessment;
  • proof of any recommendations made by a substance abuse provider licensed by either the Department of Human Services or the Department of Health; and
  • proof of approval by the local substance abuse authority.

Back to top

Other Types of Crimes involving Minors and Alcohol

Utah law imposes very serious criminal sanctions for underage drinking offenses such as:

  • Minor in possession of alcohol;
  • The consumption of alcohol by a minor;
  • Purchase alcohol when under 21 years old;
  • Using a false identification to obtain alcohol;
  • Child endangerment violations; and
  • Furnishing alcohol to minor children.

Back to top

Client Testimonials

View More Testimonials