Can parents allow their minor children to drink?

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The legal drinking age in South Carolina is 21. This means that someone who is under 21 can’t go to a liquor store and buy anything to drink. They’ll get carded and then they will be turned away.

Typically, people assume that this means that drinking itself is illegal, regardless of the source. This is why someone who is 20 years old can’t get a 22-year-old friend to buy beer for them. That is also illegal. 

But what if you are a parent, and you have an underage child who lives in your house? Is it illegal for you to let your son or daughter have a glass of wine with dinner or drink a beer during the football game?

You can use your discretion in South Carolina

All states have slightly different laws on this, but you may be interested to learn that South Carolina actually allows parents to give alcoholic drinks to their children as long as they are on private property where alcohol is not being sold. With parental consent, children are allowed to drink even though they are underage.

This certainly doesn’t mean you can supply alcohol to your child and their friends when they want to have a party. It is still illegal to intentionally buy alcohol for those who are underage. But you can do this for your own child if they’re just going to be drinking at your house. Parents are allowed to make exceptions for this, as long as the children don’t leave or break some other law, such as driving a car after they’ve had something to drink.

That said, if your child is facing charges for underage alcohol possession or related issues, it’s very important to know about your legal options. Don’t let a simple mistake damage their entire future: Call an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn what you can do.