North Carolina Alcohol Laws
The following are explanations of North Carolina State laws concerning
alcohol. They are not the actual text and they are not intended
to be complete.
How much can a six-pack cost?
- The drinking age in North Carolina is 21.
- If you're under 21, possession, purchase or attempted purchase
of liquor (fortified wine, spirits, mixed drinks) is illegal.
The penalties include fines and court costs (usually totalling $70),
and possible imprisonment.
- If you're under 19, possession, purchase or attempted purchase
of beer or wine carries penalties of fines and court costs (usually
totalling $70), and possible imprisonment.
- If you're 19 or 20 possession, purchase or attempted purchase
of beer or wine carries a fine of $10 to $25.
- If you help an underage person buy alcohol, or buy it for them,
you face a fine, court costs, possible imprisionment, and lose
your drivers license for a year. If you're over 21 and do this,
you can be fined up to $2,000 and be jailed for up to two years.
- If you use a fake or borrowed ID to buy alcohol, or lend your
ID to someone, you risk having your own driver's license suspended.
- Driving with any amount of alcohol in the body is illegal for
anyone under 21, and results in a one-year license suspension.
People 18-20 may receive an alternative sanction of limited driving
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08%--Driving While Impaired--carries a range of sentences
and fines, from 24 hours to two years in prision and between $100
and $2000 in fines. Your license can be suspended for at least
a year, or revoked permanently. If someone dies as a result of
your drunk driving, you can go to jail for much longer.
Healthy People 2000: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Objectives calls for all 50 States to lower legal blood alcohol concentration
tolerance levels to 0.04% for motor vehicle drivers older than
20 with "zero tolerance" for younger drivers. This is because noticeable impairment of driving ability starts around that level.
- It is illegal to have an open container of alcohol in a vehicle's passenger area if the driver has been drinking at all. Second conviction carries a six-month license revocation. Third conviction loses your license for a year.
- A person can be charged with driving while impaired with blood
alcohol concentrations under 0.08% if police observe erratic
- Possession of illegal drugs can send you to jail for up to five
years or cost you fines of up to $2000.
- Selling illegal drugs to others carries a jail term of up to ten
- If you become disruptive in public (violent, insulting, using
profanity, urinating) as a result of being drunk, you can be fined
up to $50 dollars and spend up to a month in jail.
- In Chapel Hill NC, possession or consumption of alcohol is not
allowed on public property. The fine is up to $50.
Liability for Others' Drinking
- There's a growing trend to hold people who serve alcohol--at bars
and restaurants or at private events--responsible for injuries
caused by the drunk driving of people they give drinks to. If
you give people alcohol at a party you host and let them drive
home, you can be sued or even face criminal charges for damage or injuries they cause.
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