Is it Illegal to Ask Somebody to Buy You Alcohol?
One common question that often arises, especially among younger individuals, is whether it’s illegal to ask someone to buy you alcohol. While the act of asking someone to buy alcohol for you is not inherently illegal, the actions that follow can be.
The Purchaser’s Liability
Colorado law prohibits the sale, purchase, and provision of alcohol to individuals under 21 years of age. This includes buying alcohol for someone who is underage, commonly referred to as “providing to a minor” or “contributing to the delinquency of a minor.”
Social Hosting Laws
Colorado has social hosting laws that hold individuals accountable for knowingly providing alcohol to minors in social settings or a place for underage individuals to drink alcohol. Violations of this law can lead to both civil and criminal consequences. Adults may face fines, community service, or other penalties, as well as liability for any injuries, property damage, or deaths that occur as a result of underage drinking. However, an underage person can legally consume alcohol if they obtain permission from their guardians and drink on their private property.
Penalties for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor
Violating these laws can result in legal consequences for both the adult and underage individuals, including:
Potential Defenses to These Charges
If you’re facing charges related to purchasing alcohol for a minor or violating social hosting laws, it is critical to consult a trusted Colorado Criminal Defense Attorney to discuss the specifics of your case. However, here are some potential strategies that might be considered to fight such charges:
Lack of Knowledge
If the accused can demonstrate that they were unaware of the minor’s age and had a reasonable belief that the individual was of legal drinking age, it may serve as a defense.
If the minor provided false identification that appeared legitimate and the accused reasonably relied on it.
If law enforcement induced or coerced the accused into buying alcohol for a minor in a way that they would not have done otherwise, it might be considered entrapment.
Absence of Transaction
If there is no evidence that an actual transaction took place, then the accused did not complete the purchase of alcohol for the minor.
If there is a reasonable belief or evidence that the accused was not the person involved in the alleged act of buying alcohol for a minor, mistaken identity may be a valid defense.
If the accused believed they had the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian, it might mitigate the consequences.
Lack of Probable Cause or Illegal Search
If law enforcement conducted an illegal search or lacked probable cause to stop and search the minor, evidence obtained during the search may be challenged in court.
If there is a reasonable belief or evidence that the minor was not the person involved in the alleged possession or consumption of alcohol, mistaken identity may be a valid defense.
Lack of Intent
If the minor can demonstrate a lack of intent to possess or consume alcohol, such as being unaware of the presence of alcohol or mistakenly thinking a substance was non-alcoholic.
If the minor had the consent of a parent or legal guardian to possess or consume alcohol, it could be a mitigating factor.
Violation of Miranda Rights
If law enforcement failed to properly inform the minor of their Miranda rights, any statements made during custodial interrogation may be inadmissible in court.
Completing a diversion program or alcohol education program may be a pretrial option for minors, leading to the dismissal of charges upon successful completion.