Want To Learn More?

Is it true that the police will confiscate alcohol from you if you’re under 18?

Yes, if you’re in a public place, like a park or on the beach, the police will take away any alcohol opened or unopened that you have with you. They will probably take you home and interview your parents and may choose to let your school know.

Is it ok to ask someone over 18 to buy alcohol for me?

If you ask a friend who is over 18 to buy alcohol for you, they risk having a fine and a caution from the police. This is called buying by proxy – so you’re asking your friends to break the law.

Can I drink at home with my parents?

The laws around buying and being served alcohol for under 18’s cover being in  a pub, club, restaurant, buying on line or from a shop or drinking in a public place. In the home, parents and carers are thought to be the best judges of when it might be Ok for a young person to try alcohol. The Chief Medical Officer says that an alcohol free childhood is best before the age of 15 as teenagers’ livers and brains are not fully developed yet.

I thought you could have a glass of wine with a meal once you’re 16?

It’s true if you’re with an adult over 18 and sitting down with a plated meal – you can have a glass of wine, beer or cider – but only if the landlord is happy – it’s his choice, but it is legal.

What’s the law around drink driving?

Because alcohol slows down your reactions and judgements, there is a strict limit as to how much you are allowed to drink if you drive. How quickly your blood alcohol concentration (what is measured by the police in a breath test) rises depends on your age, if you’re male or female, whether you’ve eaten, your size and metabolism. The best advice is always not to drink alcohol at all if you plan to drive – you’ll be very popular with your mates if you’re the non-drinking driver – and they can pay for your soft drinks when you’re out too! Otherwise find out about buses, have details of a taxi firm with you or ask someone to come and collect you at the end of the evening. Think about the next morning too – if someone’s been drinking the night before they could still be over the limit if they’ve drunk a lot.

Are the laws around alcohol similar in other countries?

Nearly all countries have a legal drinking age of at least age 18 – in the USA it’s age 21! Drink drive laws are even stricter in most other countries and in some countries drinking alcohol at all is against the law – so do check before you travel or hire a car.

It’s very confusing about teenage parties – I know they drink alcohol, so aren’t they breaking the law?

The law around underage drinking at parties is confusing. Parents should think very seriously if they provide alcohol to other young people without their parents’ permission, if something went wrong, or if there was an accident there would be trouble. There are lots of other things to do instead – go bowling, go out for a pizza, a movie night or just hang out with your mates!