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Your minor child has tried alcohol: Is that ever legal in Colorado?

| Mar 19, 2021 | Underage Drinking and Driving

Kids and drinking.

Whatever one might think about that occurrence, it spells a flat reality in Colorado and across the country.

The bottom line: Adolescents – especially teens – sometimes do gain access to alcohol and feel compelled to imbibe. Their desire to do so might owe to peer pressure or myriad other reasons. Kids act impulsively. They sometimes seek to mimic what they see their parents doing. Older siblings or other relatives might offer them a drink.

Candidly, some degree of alcohol consumption spells a rite of passage for legions of young people – for purposes of this blog post, legally underaged individuals – spanning the country.

Is underaged drinking ever deemed lawful in Colorado?

Colorado’s legal take on minors’ alcohol consumption

Unsurprisingly, Colorado’s legal parameters surrounding underage drinking are anything but liberal or permissive. No state establishes low thresholds when it comes to erected barriers for minors trying to access and consume alcohol.

Still, and as noted in an article authored by the Denver-based online news provider Westword, Colorado’s law concerning the topic is comparatively expansive for what lawmakers and enforcers allow.

To wit: state regulators enumerate five instances where underage drinking is deemed acceptable and immune from legal reprisals. That degree of allowance is reportedly equaled in only a mere handful of other states.

Relevant statutory language refers to those exceptions as “affirmative defenses” that can be offered up in instances where individuals under the age of 21 interact with law enforcers. Those exceptions are sketched immediately below in summary form:

  • When a minor consumes alcohol (limit unspecified) on private property at a family gathering and with consent of a parent or guardian who exercises continued oversight
  • When alcohol (to a stated maximum level) is an ingredient in a prescribed medication or as part of a cooking recipe
  • When alcohol features in a religious rite or event (e.g., communion)
  • When alcohol is sampled (swallowing being taboo) in a college course focused on the restaurant industry
  • When an underage drinker contacts authorities out of concern that a peer’s consumption has sparked a medical emergency

One authoritative Colorado criminal defense legal source stresses that there can be “a lot at stake for children and adults” in cases involving underage alcohol consumption.” Questions or concerns might reasonably be addressed to a proven legal team with a strong record of advocacy in such matters.

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