This article was written by Fernanda Dahlstrom - Content Editor - Brisbane

Fernanda Dahlstrom has a Bachelor of Laws, a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. She also completed a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice at the College of Law in Victoria. Fernanda practised law for eight years, working in criminal defence, child protection and domestic violence law in the Northern Territory and in family law in Queensland.

What is the Legal Drinking Age? (ACT)


The sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in the ACT is governed by the Liquor Act 2010.  The act imposes various offences relating to unlawful sale and supply of alcohol, some of which relate to supplying alcohol to a person who is below the legal drinking age in the ACT.

The legal drinking age in the ACT is 18.

Supplying alcohol to a child

Under the act, there are a number of offences relating to supplying alcohol to a person under the age of 18. These include

  • A licensee or permit-holder supplying alcohol to a minor at licensed premises (maximum penalty a fine of 50 penalty units);
  • An employee of a licensee or permit-holder supplying alcohol to a minor at licensed premises (maximum penalty a fine of 10 penalty units);
  • A person supplying alcohol to a minor at licensed premises (maximum penalty a fine of 20 penalty units).

However, it is a defence if the minor was aged 16 or older and had presented identification that appeared to prove they were over 18.

Child consuming alcohol

Under section 114 of the Liquor Act, a licensee or permit holder is guilty of an offence if a minor consumes alcohol at their licensed premises. This is punishable by a fine of up to 20 penalty units.

It is a defence to this offence if the minor was aged 16 or older and had presented identification that appeared to prove they were over 18.

Under section 115, a minor is guilty of an offence if he or she consumes alcohol at licensed, catered, or permitted premises. This is punishable by a fine of up to five penalty units.

Child possessing alcohol

Under section 116, a licensee or permit holder commits an offence if a minor possesses alcohol at their catered, licensed or permitted premises. This is punishable by a fine of up to 20 penalty units.

A minor commits an offence if they possess alcohol at licensed, catered or permitted premises and may be fined up to five penalty units.

Child supplying alcohol

It is an offence for a licensee or permit holder to employ a person who is below the legal drinking age to supply liquor within an adults-only area of the premises. This is punishable by a fine of up to 50 penalty units.

Sending child to obtain liquor

It is an offence under section 119 to send a person below the legal drinking age to obtain liquor from licensed premises. However, this offence does not apply if the young person is undertaking work or training at the premises. In other circumstances, a fine of up to 10 penalty units can be imposed.

Adults only areas of licensed premises

It is an offence for a person to allow persons below the legal drinking age to be in the adults-only area of licensed premises. This is punishable by a fine of up to 50 penalty units.

 It is also an offence for a minor to be in the adults-only area of licensed premises. The young person can be fined up to five penalty units.

However, this offence does not apply if the young person is accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian.

Identification

A person working at licensed premises may refuse to supply alcohol to a person does not show proof of age identification when asked.

It is an offence for a minor to use fake identification to gain entry to licensed premises. A young person who does so may be fined up to five penalty units or issued with a caution.

If a staff member believes that an identification document that is presented is false, they may seize the document (provided that it is not a passport.)

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

WHERE TO NEXT?

If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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