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? (WA)


The sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in Western Australia is regulated by the Liquor Control Act 1988. The act establishes a number of offences relating to selling or supplying alcohol to a person who is below the legal drinking age in WA. It also makes it illegal to allow juveniles into licensed premises, except in particular circumstances.

The legal drinking age in WA is 18.

Licensed premises and juveniles

Juveniles are not allowed into licensed premises in Western Australia unless:

  • They are accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian;
  • They are there to have a meal;
  • They are employed at the premises;
  • They are a member of the family of the licensee;

Or in a number of other specific circumstances set out in section 120 of the act.

It is an offence to sell or supply alcohol to a juvenile on licensed premises or to permit a juvenile to consume alcohol on licensed premises. This offence attracts a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 for the licensee or manager and up to $$4,000 for any other person.

It is an offence for an adult to purchase alcohol on behalf of a juvenile at licensed premises. When this occurs both the adult and the juvenile face a fine of $2,000.

It is an offence for the parent or guardian of a juvenile to leave the juvenile unaccompanied at licensed premises without first informing the licensee or an employee. This is punishable by a fine of $2,000.

Juveniles and unlicensed premises

A person must not supply alcohol to a person who is below the legal drinking age in WA on unlicensed premises unless they are the parent or guardian of the young person or have the permission of their parent or guardian. The penalty for doing so is a fine of $10,000.

A person must not supply alcohol to a juvenile even with the permission of their parent or guardian if:

  • The parent or guardian is drunk when they give permission;
  • The person is drunk;
  • The juvenile is drunk;
  • The person is unable to supervise the juvenile’s consumption of alcohol.

Offences by juveniles

A juvenile commits an offence if they purchase or obtain or try to purchase or obtain or consume alcohol. This offence can attract a penalty of $2,000.

Sending juvenile to get liquor

It is an offence to send a person, knowing or believing the person to be below the legal drinking age in WA, to licensed premises to obtain alcohol. This is punishable by a fine of $2,000.

Defences

It is a defence to an offence involving the sale or supply of alcohol to a juvenile if:

  • The juvenile was a family member of the licensee or a person employed or living at the premises; or
  • The juvenile was the spouse or de facto partner of a lodger at the premises.

It is a defence to an offence where the accused sold or supplied alcohol to the juvenile, that:

Identification

When a staff member at licensed premises suspect a person is below the legal drinking age in WA, they are allowed to ask the person their age and for evidence of that age such as a driver’s licence or passport. If the person fails to produce proof that they are over 18, they can be asked to leave the premises.

A person who fails to leave the premises when asked to do so, or produces fake ID, can be fined $2,000.

If staff believe that an identification document that is presented to them is false, they may confiscate it.

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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