The national drinking age is 21, but some states allow minors to drink alcohol in the presence of a family member in a private residence.
North Carolina is not one of those states.
With few exceptions, it’s illegal for North Carolina residents under the age of 21 to buy, possess, or consume alcohol — and parents who supply their children with beer, wine, or liquor could face serious legal trouble.
Parents who give alcohol to their children can be charged with aiding and abetting, a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to 120 days in jail.
When can minors drink in NC?
North Carolina law permits minors to consume alcohol when:
An alcoholic beverage is used for medical purposes by a licensed physician.
They attend a religious ceremony.
They are part of a cooking class that requires students to taste alcoholic beverages.
What penalties can minors incur for drinking alcohol in NC?
According to Greensboro-based law firm Schlosser & Pritchett, minors caught consuming alcohol can be charged with underage possession.
Those under 19 will face penalties set by the North Carolina court system, which could include fines and completion of alcohol abuse courses.
Adults under the legal drinking age can be charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $200 fine.