In Georgia, state regulations regarding underage drinking and possession of alcohol by minors mirror those set by many other states. With few exceptions, most states enforce strict laws with regard to these issues.
For legal purposes, a “minor” is generally defined as any individual under the age of 21. Some state rules regarding possession apply strictly to evidence of alcohol in a minor’s body, though others dictate that a minor who is unaccompanied and has alcohol on his or her person is “in possession” and may face charges. When a state requires that a minor have alcohol in his or her system in order to be charged, the presence of alcohol is usually verified by a blood, breath or urine test.
The most common exception to the minor in possession rule in a majority of states relates to whether or not the minor in question is in the presence of a parent or guardian. A relative, in many cases, may consent to a person under the age of 21 consuming an alcoholic beverage as long as he or she is in the guardian’s care. Another more rarely used exception involves a minor who is married and in the presence of his or her spouse. Property exceptions can also apply in some cases, which generally allow underage possession or consumption in the family home only.
The rules and regulations regarding minors in possession of alcohol vary from state to state and can also change in a state with little to no advance warning. Minors who are facing charges after being caught in possession of alcohol may wish to have their parent or guardian accompany them to a meeting with a legal representative. While there is no guaranteed outcome from such a meeting, an attorney can help clarify state regulations and determine whether or not there is a case to take to court.
Source: Alcohol Policy information system, “Underage Drinking: Possession/Consumption/Internal Possession of Alcohol”, October 07, 2014