The Surprising Truth About Minors Drinking Alcohol in Ohio

During football season, your home is the go-to spot for your friends to gather and watch the Buckeyes battle, hopefully, to another National Championship. While you watch the games, you and your friends enjoy food, snacks, jokes, stories, and a few beers. You always have a hearty selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to keep everyone “hydrated.”

But a question comes up, and you’re curious about the answer. Can you serve minors, primarily your children, alcohol while in your own home? A great question. While we at the Probst Law Offices strongly encourage you to not serve minors alcohol in any situation, we want to outline some of the laws in Ohio to consider.

What Are the Laws in Ohio Regarding Underage Drinking

See Ohio Revised Code §4301.69(B) for more information.

You can be arrested in Ohio for the following:

Using a fake ID to obtain or buy alcoholic beverages.
Providing or selling alcoholic beverages to someone under 21 years of age.
Buying, possessing or drinking an alcoholic beverage under the age of 21 (even a closed container).

Also, a citation may be issued for the following:

Possessing an open container of alcohol on public property, no matter your age.

Note that “public property” in this context is defined broadly and can include areas that are extremely visible, accessible, and open to the public. Places such as front lawns, porches, stoops, etc may be defined as “public places.”

Can I Give My Child Permission to Drink While Under My Supervision?

It’s important to understand the exceptions under Ohio law regarding minors drinking under the supervision of their parents. Ohio law says that minors under the age of 21 may drink alcoholic beverages under the supervision of their parents. What this means is that one parent (or legal guardian) must give consent to allow this to happen. What’s more, the parent who gives consent must be physically present while the child drinks, as well as is liable for all actions before, during, and after the child drinks.

Ohio law also allows parents to order alcoholic beverages for their children at bars and restaurants, but the parent must remain in the child’s immediate vicinity at all times.

Take note that your presence with your child, while they drink, is a strict requirement that cannot be flexible. For example, you cannot send your child to a neighbor’s house with a written note saying that you consent to their drinking. You must be with them at all times, before, during, and after they drink.

Remember at the next football party to monitor who is drinking alcoholic beverages so that you as the host is not held liable for what happens after your gathering. What’s more, keep tabs on your children. If you consent to your child drinking, you need to be in their presence at all times. If your friends’ kids sneak drinks and their parent does not give consent, you may be held liable for any personal or property damages that follow.

Probst Law Offices

While this article is a brief overview of how Ohio laws affect underage drinking for minors in the presence of their parents, you can review the Ohio Laws and Rules for yourself, too.

In the event that you need a criminal defense attorney, call Probst Law Offices now. We will consult you on how we may be able to help. Call today!