Virginia Rules and Exceptions on Underage Alcohol Consumption

As winter turns into spring, and the air becomes a bit warmer, college students across the U.S. are preparing for the upcoming March Madness season, spring break, and other leisurely pursuits.  But for those students under age 21, beware of the strict rules in Virginia on underage drinking.  It is best to understand how Virginia treats such offenses today, so you can avoid an arrest later.  However, if you are charged with an alcohol-related crime, don’t panic.  Instead, call your Virginia Beach or Norfolk Lawyer immediately for a quick and free case analysis.

In 2007, underage drinkers consumed 12.8% of all alcohol sold in Virginia, totaling $461 million in sales. These sales provided profits of $226 million to the alcohol industry,” reports this Alcohol Fact Sheet. 

The foremost basic rule in Virginia is that it is illegal to possess alcohol if you are under the age of 21.  There are two exceptions to this rule.  In Virginia, underage people can possess alcoholic beverages if they are doing so to “[make] a delivery . . . by order of his parent.”  Second, it is legal to drink under the age of 21 if served in a private residence and the drinker’s parent or guardian is present (who is 21 or older).  See Va. Code Ann. §§ 4.1-200, 305.

Using false identification to purchase alcohol can lead to legal and educational setbacks.  College students need to understand that they may lose their driver’s license, which could in turn lead to forfeiture of job opportunities after graduation.  If you have been charged with public intoxication, underage possession, sale of alcohol to a person underage, illegal consumption, or any other offense, you owe it to yourself to have the best Virginia Beach and Norfolk Alcohol Defense Attorney by your side.


Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control

State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws

Alcohol Education