Minors and Alcoholic Beverages
Iowa's Legal-Drinking Age
• A person must be at least 21 years of age to consume alcoholic beverages in the state of Iowa. • Licensees (their employees and agents) must have proof that a person is of legal-drinking age before selling or serving an alcoholic beverage.
• Liquor, wine or beer may be given to a person under legal age for medicinal or educational purposes in a private home by a parent or legal guardian who is present.
Iowa Code sections §123.47, 123.47(2) and §123.49(2)(h)
Age to be in Licensed Establishments
• Iowa law does not prohibit minors from being in licensed establishments• Some local authorities may have ordinances prohibiting minors from being in licensed establishments
• If the local authority has such an ordinance, the ordinance applies
Criminal Penalties for Sales-to-Minors Violations
It is against the law for any licensee (their employees and agents) to sell, give or otherwise provide alcoholic beverages to anyone under the legal drinking age of twenty one years. The fine for this simple misdemeanor is:
• $1,500 when committed by the licensee
• $500 when committed by an employee or agent Iowa Code section §123.50(1)
Criminal Penalties for Minors
Following are the criminal penalties imposed by the courts for a minor aged 18-20 years of age purchasing or attempting to purchase or controlling or possessing an alcoholic beverage:
• First violation - simple misdemeanor punishable by a $100 fine.
• Second violation - simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500. Additionally, the person in violation shall choose between either completing a substance abuse evaluation or the suspension of the person's motor vehicle operating privileges for a period not to exceed one year.
• Third and subsequent violations - simple misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 and the suspension of the person's motor vehicle operating privileges for a period not to exceed one year. When the violation is committed by a minor under age 18, the matter is handled by the juvenile court.
Iowa Code section §123.47
Administrative Sanctions for Sales-to-Minors Violations
Administrative sanctions are separate from criminal penalties. Both may be imposed. When licensees (their employees and agents) sell, give or otherwise supply liquor, wine or beer to someone under the legal-drinking age, the following administrative sanctions may be imposed against the alcoholic beverages license.
• First violation or first violation within two years - $500 civil penalty or 14-day license suspension.• Second violation in two years - 30-day license suspension and $1,500 civil penalty.
• Third violation in three years - 60-day license suspension and $1,500 civil penalty.
• Fourth violation in three years - revocation of the license. Administrative sanctions are automatic (no administrative hearing held) when there is a criminal conviction under Iowa Code section §123.49(2)(h). When there is no criminal conviction, administrative sanctions are imposed through an administrative hearing.
Iowa Code sections §123.39(1)(c), §123.49(2)(h) and §123.50(3)