Understanding Minor in Possession Laws

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | blog, criminal defense |

In South Dakota, it is illegal for anyone under age 21 to possess or consume alcohol. Young adults leaving home for the first time to attend college often push boundaries, including drinking excessively, as they explore their independence while living on campus.

With the majority of college students consuming alcohol, parents and their children should thoroughly understand the state’s Minor in Possession laws.

What Are South Dakota’s Laws Regarding Underage Drinking?

In South Dakota, it is illegal for anyone under age 21 to buy, possess or consume alcohol. The law also states that minors may not falsely represent themselves to purchase alcohol, even if they are unsuccessful. In addition, adults may not transfer or offer alcohol to minors in a public setting.

Are There Any Exceptions to These Laws?

Young adults under 21 years old may consume alcohol in specific circumstances, including:

  • In a private setting while in the presence of a parent or adult spouse
  • During special events at venues that have a liquor license
  • When an adult offers it as part of a religious service
  • When it is an ingredient of medicine such as a cough syrup

What Penalties Can College Students Face for Underage Drinking?

Young adults attending college for the first time may demonstrate poor judgment that leads to violations of South Dakota’s alcohol laws. Underage first-time violators may avoid conviction by completing a 90-day diversion or rehabilitation program.  However, a judge may suspend the offender’s driver’s license or impose harsher penalties, including jail time, depending upon the nature or recurrence of an infraction.

Many colleges have strict policies regarding alcohol consumption that can compound the legal consequences of underage drinking. Therefore, parents should ensure that their minor children are ready to resist any temptations they may face.