Underage consumption, purchasing or possession of alcohol
In Ohio, purchase, possession or consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21 is against the law, with some significant exceptions. Individuals under 21 may be served alcohol with their parent’s consent. The parent must be present when alcohol is being consumed. The law also permits minors to consume alcohol for certain specific medical, religious or educational purposes, such as communion wine.
Persons under 21 who are married may be furnished alcohol with their spouse’s consent, provided their spouse is over 21. The law also permits minors to purchase liquor for law enforcement purposes.
The maximum penalties associated with this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both. A 20-year-old student, therefore, risks being imprisoned and fined when he/she decides to drink alcohol at a party or elsewhere.
Providing alcohol to an underage person
It is also illegal to furnish alcohol to an underage person. The maximum penalty associated with this offense is six months imprisonment or $1,000 fine or both.
A social host, therefore, risks being fined and imprisoned when he/she furnishes alcohol to a person who is not 21 years of age. Keep in mind that the bigger your party is, the more people there that you don’t know, the greater the chance that an underage person could be there and the greater the chance of you being charged.
Possession or display of a fictitious operator’s license is also illegal. The offense includes mere possession of a fictitious license or display of someone else’s valid operator’s license. The maximum penalties for this offense are six months imprisonment or a $1,000 fine or both.
Moreover, if the fictitious operator’s license is utilized to purchase alcohol or enter an establishment that serves alcohol, the minimum fine must be at least $250 and the person displaying the fictitious operator’s license may have his/her valid operator’s license suspended for three years.
It is illegal to possess in public an open container of an alcoholic beverage. Conviction of this offense carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. Consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor with maximum penalties of 30 days imprisonment or a $250 fine or both.
Disorderly conduct while intoxicated is a minor misdemeanor and carries a maximum penalty of a $100 fine. Disorderly conduct occurs when one recklessly causes inconvenience, annoyance or alarm to another due to offensive conduct. Disorderly conduct also occurs when one makes unreasonable noise in such a manner as to violate the peace and quiet of the neighborhood or to be detrimental to the life and health of any individual.