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Is it Illegal to Ask Somebody to Buy You Alcohol?

Posted on December 19, 2023

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:



  • Selling or giving alcohol to a person under 21
  • (Class 2 Misdemeanor)
  • Up to 120 days in jail and/or
  • Up to $750 in fines
  • Knowingly letting a person under 21 use your ID to buy alcohol
  • (Class 2 Misdemeanor)
  • Up to 120 days in jail and/or
  • Up to $750 in fines
  • People under 21 obtaining alcohol from a store or possessing it in public
  • (Class 2 Misdemeanor)
  • Up to 120 days in jail and/or
  • Up to $750 in fines
  • Subsequent convictions will carry at least $250 in fines or community service.

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.

False Identification

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.

Mistaken Identity

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.

Parental Consent

If the accused believed they had the consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian, it might mitigate the consequences.

Minors facing charges of being in possession of or consuming alcohol may consider various defenses depending on the circumstances of their case:

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.

Mistaken Identity

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.

Parental Consent

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.