Underage possession of alcohol may be legal in SC

by | industry




In South Carolina, buying alcohol by anyone under 21 is illegal, but one judge ruled this does not prevent them from possessing or consuming alcohol.  A twenty year old was cited by the Richland County Sheriff’s department in March for posession of alcohol.  To the surprise of everyone, the courts sided with the twenty year old.

Supreme Court

Is this something that could reach the Supreme Court? Probably not since the Federal Courts usually leave these matters to the states.

South Carolina Magistrate Mel Maurer in Richland County says the state constitution barring 18 year olds or older from possession or consuming alcohol is unconstitutional.

“The constitutional decision to allow 18 year olds a vast array of freedoms, including the ability to fight for our country, suggests that the privilege of alcohol consumption as well should be extended to our citizens who are 18 years old and above,” the twenty year old’s attorney Joe McCulloch writes.

I agree.

If groups like MADD and other anti-alcohol activist groups really are interested in helping curb binge drinking by underage individuals, I think they should focus their money and effort on education and responsibility, not abstinence (of alcohol).  “Just say no” is not working, and restricting the rights of individuals based on age for any reason is wrong.

Of course the ruling is already being appealed to the circuit court, although I admit my limited knowledge of the legal system doesn’t understand why.  The ruling says the 20 year old is not guilty and you can’t retry him, so doesn’t this end it?  My guess is they can contest the ruling without retrying the individual.

We will keep our eyes on this case as it progresses through the courts.


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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!