There are several laws that relate to the drinking age in South Carolina. In South Carolina, the drinking age is 21. Sadly, many victims are hurt in accidents because of underage drinking.
In this article, the drunk driving accident attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A. explain some of the drinking age and related laws in South Carolina.
What is the legal drinking age in South Carolina?
The legal drinking age in South Carolina is 21 years. There are exceptions for employment purposes, educational courses, and religious ceremonies.
Drinking Age Law in South Carolina
S.C. Code § 63-19-2440 – Minor in possession of Beer and wine
The drinking age in South Carolina is 21. A person under 21 may not either:
- Consume, or
- Knowingly possess
beer, ale, porter, wine, or other similar malt or fermented beverage. An offense is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $100-$200, up to 30 days in jail, and mandatory alcohol education or prevention training.
S.C. Code § 61-4-90 and § 61-6-4070 – Furnishing beer, wine or alcoholic liquors to a minor
It is unlawful to give beer, wine or alcoholic liquors to someone under 21 for the purpose of consumption. A violation of these laws is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $200-$300 for a first offense and $400-$500 for a second offense, and up to 30 days in jail.
These laws does not apply to parents and children in their own home, to liquor provided in connection with religious ceremonies, or to minors 18 years or older who are taking higher-education cooking classes or serving or removing alcohol for their work.
S.C. Code § 61-4-90 and § 61-6-4075 – Purchasing beer, wine or alcoholic liquors for a minor
It is an unlawful misdemeanor for a person to purchase beer, wine, or alcoholic liquors for a minor. A violation of these laws is punishable by a fine of $200-$300 for a first offense and $400-$500 for a second offense, and up to 30 days in jail.
S.C. Code § 61-4-90 and § 61-6-4080 – Selling beer, wine or alcoholic liquors to a minor
It is unlawful to sell beer, wine or alcoholic liquors to someone under 21. A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $200-$300 for a first offense and $400-$500 for a second offense, and up to 30 days in jail.
Failing to check ID is prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.
S.C. Code § 61-4-60 – Using a fake ID
Using a fake ID is punishable by a fine of $100-$200 and up to 30 days in jail. Providing any false information to get alcohol is a violation of the fake ID law.
S.C. Code § 56-1-286 – No tolerance
It is illegal for a person under 21 to drive with any level of bodily alcohol content. South Carolina creates a cutoff of a bodily alcohol content of .02 to be in violation of this law. Even though the state has drunk driving laws that apply to drivers of all ages, the no tolerance law applies to drivers under the age of 21.
A violation is punishable by a license suspension for three months for a first offense and six months for a second offense. The driver may also be charged with minor in possession if appropriate.
S.C. Code § 56-5-2930 and § 56-5-2933 – Drunk driving, unlawful bodily alcohol content
Drunk driving laws apply to all drivers, including minors. It is unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties are materially and appreciably impaired. It is also against the law to drive with a bodily alcohol content of .08 or more.
Penalties begin at 48 hours to 30 days in jail, or community service, and a fine of $400. Penalties increase if the person had a high bodily alcohol content or if they are a repeat offender.
S.C. Code § 56-5-2945 – Felony drunk driving
When a drunk driver causes great bodily injury or death, the offense is a felony. For the purposes of the law, great bodily injury is an injury creating a substantial risk of death, permanent disfigurement, or protracted impairment of the body. The penalty is a $5,000-$10,000 fine and 30 days to 15 years in jail for DUI with great bodily injury, and, if death occurs, the penalty is a fine of $10,000-$25,000 and imprisonment of one year to 25 years.
Legal Liability and Compensation for Victims of Underage Drunk Drivers
When people violate drinking age laws, victims get hurt. Both the minor and the parties who provided the minor with alcohol, like a restaurant, convenience store, or an individual person who provides alcohol, may have legal liability for injuries that result. In addition to potential criminal penalties, civil liability may hold wrongdoers accountable and provide compensation for victims.
Establishments that serve alcohol must make sure patrons are of legal age. They must decline to serve intoxicated or underage customers. When the establishment fails in its duties, it may be liable to pay compensation to persons who are injured as result. Bars in South Carolina must carry at least $1,000,000 of liability insurance to pay claims.
In addition to restaurants and bars, people who give alcohol to minors may be liable, too. In South Carolina, social hosts who knowingly serve alcohol to a minor under 21 may be liable for any harm that results.
Car accidents are one type of harm that may create legal liability. In addition, if underage alcohol consumption is an underlying cause of a slip and fall or assault and battery, the party who provided the alcohol may be liable to pay damages for those injuries as well.
The duty not to sell or serve alcohol to minors extends to the minor and to members of the public who may be hurt by the minor. Therefore, when a minor is injured after consuming alcohol, the minor may also have a claim against the party who provided it.
Greenville Car Accident Attorneys for Those Hurt By South Carolina Drinking Age Violations
If you have been injured by an underage drunk driver, then you are most likely entitled to substantial financial compensation. Contact our attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A., today for your free consultation. Let us put our substantial knowledge and experience to work for you.