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Can You Buy Alcohol on Your 21st Birthday? What Does The Law Say?

Can You Buy Alcohol on Your 21st Birthday?


Your 21st birthday is getting closer and you would love to buy a legal drink – however, is it possible for you to do this on your birthday? Or, do you have to wait a few days before the law is on your side?

Here, you can discover the answers to your burning question and more!

Is It Legal for You to Buy Alcohol on Your 21st Birthday?

As long as it is past midnight on the day of your birthday, you should be able to legally purchase alcohol –but it will depend on the liquor store or bar in question whether or not you will be served alcohol on that day.

What Does the Law Have to Say?

According to US law, the legal minimum drinking age is 21 years old. Therefore, as long as you can prove that you are legally 21, then you will be able to buy alcohol.

If you look at any form of identification that you own, will notice that only your day of birth, month, and year are included in the details. At a minute past midnight on the day and month of your birth, you are considered a whole year older.

Due to this, if you were to visit a liquor shop, bar, night club etc., at any point past midnight on your birthday, you would be considered 21 years old and thus, of legal drinking age.

Are There Exceptions to the Rule?

No, there should be no exceptions to this law. As long as your identification proves that you have technically turned 21, you should be able to purchase alcohol.

Keep in mind, the government can’t keep track of the exact time that you were born. This is why they instituted the law that only focuses on the day and month of your birth. As a result, you can’t get into trouble for buying alcohol on your 21st birthday, even if you just turned 21.

Can the Store or Bar Prevent You From Buying Alcohol?

This is where things can get a little complicated. Any store or bar can refuse you service and this includes preventing you from buying alcohol from their establishment. This is their right, even though you aren’t breaking the law.

The good news is that few bars or stores will refuse you as they all want to make a sale. Only a few places may be hesitant about serving you if they are unsure of the law. Of course, there are some establishment that may not allow you to buy alcohol if they suspect their ID is fake.

Can You Buy Alcohol One Day Before Your 21st Birthday?

It is only natural to wonder what difference a mere twenty four hours can make. After all, not much will have changed in this period of time. Despite this, you are not legally able to purchase alcohol in any state. You have to wait until you are legally 21 years old.

Considering how close you are to being of legal age, it may be tempting to lie and try to purchase alcohol this way. The first thing that you should consider is that most establishment will require to verify your age in the form of legal identification.

The other thing that you should know is that lying about your age to purchase alcohol is considered a crime. Due to this, if you are reported, you may incur punishment. The severity will depend on your age as well as which state you are currently in.

In some states, if you are in the presence of a parent or legal guardian – who is over the age of 21 – then you may be allowed to drink on the premises. Keep in mind that you will not be able to purchase the alcohol, simply consume it.

This law doesn’t apply to every state, however. Thus, you will need to check on this beforehand. You should also be aware that not every bar or establishment will allow this. As such, it is best to speak with every establishment individually.

Can You Buy Alcohol Before Midnight?

Legally, no you can’t buy alcohol before midnight. Technically, you would be breaking the law even if you tried to buy alcohol at 11.59 or even midnight.

Once again, though, you are at the mercy of the establishment that you are buying from. If the bar or store is understanding of your position or if you are preparing n hanging around after midnight to legitimize the sale, then they may let you buy alcohol.

If they do this, though, they are technically serving an underage individual. In case they are reported, they may face repercussions. You, too, may be on the hook for certain consequences.

How Can You Guarantee That You will Be Served on Your 21st Birthday?

If you want to celebrate your 21st birthday at a bar, restaurant, or night club and want to guarantee thatthere is no hassle, you may want to speak to the management ahead of time.

You may want to visit during the day and talk to a manager about your situation. This way, you will know where they stand on the issue and whether or not they will consider you legal a few minutes after midnight.

Take your ID and even a copy of it to give to the manager. This way, they can pass it onto the person who will be on duty later on that evening. If the proper people have been informed, then there is less likely to be an issue.

You should also make sure that everyone in your party is either 21 years or older. You may be refused service if anyone is underage, regardless of whether or not you are legal.

Can You Buy Alcohol on the Day of Your 21st Birthday?

Yes, you can buy alcohol on your 21st birthday as long as it past midnight – this will guarantee that you are legally 21 years old and this should be good enough for most bars and stores, although individual rules may apply.

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