Alcohol

The information contained in the pages below is from Lawstuff NSW, the information was accurate at the time of publication. Please refer to the following link for up to date information or content changes. http://www.lawstuff.org.au/

  • When can I buy alcohol?

    If you are under 18, it is against the law for you to buy alcohol. It is also against the law for anyone to sell you alcohol.

    Ref: Alcohol, 2012-Lawstuff, National Children’s and Youth Law centre, viewed 19/06/14, www.lawstuff.org.au

  • What if I am under 18 and someone sells me alcohol anyway?

    If you are caught buying alcohol and you are under 18, you can:

    • be given a warning; or
    • be given a formal caution; or
    • be fined $220 on the spot by the police; or
    • choose to have the matter decided by a court (which may fine you up to $2,200 if you are convicted).

    It is up to the police to decide whether to give you a warning or a formal caution. If the police decide to fine you, then you can either choose to pay, or take the matter to court.

    The person selling you alcohol can be fined heavily, or even sent to prison.

    Ref: Alcohol, 2012-Lawstuff, National Children’s and Youth Law centre, viewed 19/06/14, www.lawstuff.org.au

  • Do I need to show ID?

    If you are buying alcohol, or entering part of a pub, club or bar that is restricted to adults, and look like you might be under 18, the staff can ask you to provide:

    • your full name, address, and date of birth; and
    • proof of age (a valid driver’s license, photo card, or passport showing that you are over 18).

    Most places will always ask if you look younger than 25. If you don’t have ID, you can be refused entry to a place or not allowed to buy alcohol.

    A police officer can also ask for this information. If you don’t provide your name, address and date of birth, or don’t have a very good reason for not providing proof of your age, you can be:

    • given a warning, a formal caution, fined on the spot ($220), or choose to go to court.

    The police decide which penalty to apply, but you can always choose to go to court instead.

    It is against the law to use a fake ID to buy alcohol, or to use one to enter a place where alcohol is served, like a pub, bar or club. You can be fined for doing so.

    Ref: Alcohol 2012-Lawstuff, National Children’s and Youth Law centre, viewed 19/06/14, www.lawstuff.org.au

  • Where and when can I drink alcohol?

    Drinking on licensed premises

    Licensed premises are public places that have been given a license by the government to sell or serve alcohol. These include bottle shops, pubs, bars, clubs, and some restaurants (called licensed restaurants).

    If you are under 18, it is against the law for you to drink, obtain, or be given alcohol on a licensed premises. It doesn’t matter if you are with your parent or guardian. If you are caught, you can be:

    • given a warning, a formal caution, fined on the spot ($220), or choose to go to court.

    The police decide which penalty to apply, but you can always choose to go to court instead.

    Drinking on private premises

    Private premises are places like your home or a friend’s home. There is no law which says you cannot drink on private premises when you are under 18. However, the person who gives you the alcohol will be breaking the law, unless:

    • the alcohol is supplied by your parent or guardian; or
    • your parents have told another person it is alright for them to supply you alcohol.

    There are heavy penalties if someone else gives you alcohol, even if it is on private premises. The person can be given a big fine or even sent to prison.

    Drinking in public places

    Most places other than someone’s house are public places. They usually include:

    • footpaths, roads, parks, beaches;
    • shopping centres;
    • unlicensed restaurants, cafes and dining areas (places that do not sell alcohol);
    •  community centres, halls and churches;
    •  theatres, libraries and galleries;
    • public transport (buses, trains, trams, aeroplanes, taxis, ferries);
    •  gyms and sporting facilities;
    • hospitals.

    It is against the law for you to have alcohol, or drink alcohol, in a public place unless:

    • you are with a responsible adult (a parent, guardian, or someone who is responsible for you); or
    • you have a very good excuse.

    If you are caught, the police may fine you $20 on the spot or you can have the matter decided by a court. The alcohol can also be confiscated by the police and it will not be returned to you.

    Ref: Alcohol, 2012-Lawstuff, National Children’s and Youth Law centre, viewed 19/06/14, www.lawstuff.org.au