When can I buy alcohol?

If you are under 18, it is against the law for you to buy alcohol.  It is also against the law for anyone to sell you alcohol.


What if I am under 18 and someone sells me alcohol anyway?

If you are caught buying alcohol and you are under 18, you will probably be given a warning or caution, and this may involve contacting your parents. If it is not the first time you have been caught, the police might send you to the Youth Court.


Do I need to show ID?

If you are buying alcohol, or entering part of a pub, club or bar that is restricted to adults, and look like you might be under 18, the staff can ask you to provide proof of age (a valid driver’s license, photo card, or passport showing that you are over 18). Police can also ask for proof of age.

Most places will always ask if you look younger than 25. If you refuse, or give fake ID, you are breaking the law. You may be refused entry, not sold alcohol, or the police may give you a warning or caution. Your parents might be contacted.

For more information see our Fake ID page.



When and where can I drink alcohol?


Drinking on licensed premises

Licensed premises are public places that have been given a license by the government to sell or serve alcohol. These include bottle shops, pubs, bars, clubs, and some restaurants (called licensed restaurants).

If you are under 18, it is against the law for you to drink, get, or be given alcohol on licensed premises. It doesn’t matter if you are with your parent or guardian.You can be given a warning, caution, or sent to Youth Court if you have been caught before.


Drinking on private premises

Private premises are places like your home or a friend’s home.  There is no law which says you cannot drink on private premises when you are under 18. But anyone selling you alcohol can be fined.


Drinking in public places

Most places other than someone’s house are public places. They usually include:

  • Footpaths, roads, parks, beaches;
  • Shopping centres;
  • Unlicensed restaurants, cafes and dining areas (places that do not sell alcohol);
  • Community centres, halls and churches;
  • Theatres, libraries and galleries;
  • Public transport (buses, trains, trams, aeroplanes, taxis, ferries);
  • Gyms and sporting facilities;
  • Hospitals.

It is against the law for you to have alcohol, or drink alcohol, in a public place unless you are with your parent or guardian.

The alcohol can be confiscated by the police and it will not be returned to you.



Additional information

If you would like more information, you may like to visit:

Alternatively, if you would like more detailed advice or have a specific problem, you can send us a Lawmail.

This page was last updated on 29 May 2012.