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Alcohol

Buying alcohol

Drinking at home

Drinking in public places

House parties

Drinking on licensed premises

Additional information

Test your knowledge and take our quiz on alcohol laws!

 

Buying 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 or supply alcohol to you.
 
What if I am under 18 and I am caught buying alcohol anyway?
 
If you are caught buying alcohol and you are under 18, you can:
 
•    be given a warning or formal caution; or

•    choose to have the matter decided by a court (which may fine you up to $1,570 if you are found guilty).
 
It is up to the police to decide whether to give you a warning or a formal caution. You can always decide to take the matter to court.
 
The person selling you alcohol can be fined heavily.

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 will probably ask you to provide proof of age (a valid driver’s licence, photo card, or passport showing that you are 18 or over).
 
Most places will always ask if you look younger than 25. If you don’t have ID, you can be refused entry to a place or not allowed to buy alcohol.
 
A police officer can also ask for your name, address and date of birth. If you refuse, or you lie, the police can charge you and you could be fined up to $7,850 if you are found guilty by a Court. The police can also arrest you, although this will only happen in very rare serious cases.
 
It is against the law to use a fake ID to buy alcohol, or to use one to enter a place where alcohol is served, like a pub, bar or club. You could be fined up to $1,570 if you are caught.

For more information see our Fake ID page.

 

Where can I drink alcohol?

Drinking at home

You are allowed to drink alcohol at home if supplied by a parent, guardian  an adult who has rights/responsibilities for you or an adult authorised to supply alcohol to you by your parent or guardian (18 and over) and you are being responsibly supervised.  If someone else supplied you with alcohol to drink at home, they could be fined up to $15,700 if found guilty by a Court.

In any event, you and your parents have a responsibility to take care of those at the party and to ensure those at your party are safe and not harmed. Your parents would be expected to supervise the party and to prevent excessive drinking and other safety risks.

Drinking in public places

It is against the law for any person to have opened alcohol, or drink alcohol, in the following places:
 
•    Public streets;

•    Franklin Square;

•    Glenorchy Council Memorial Gardens;

•    St David’s Park;

•    North Hobart Cultural Park and Stake Park;

•    Long Beach Reserve.
 
At certain times (usually after 10 pm) it is illegal to have open alcohol or drink at:
 
•    Salamanca Lawns;

•    Princes Park;

•    Parliament House Grounds;

•    Tasman Monument;

•    John Doggett Park;

•    Soundy Park;

•    Hobart Regatta Grounds;

•    Hobart Rivulet Linear Park;

•    University Rose Gardens;

•    Hobart Cenotaph.
 
If the police have a reason for thinking you bought the alcohol illegally, they can detain and search you. Any alcohol found can be confiscated from you (wherever you are) and disposed of. You can also be fined $314 for drinking in public.

House parties

Private premises are places like your home or a friend’s home. You can drink on private premises even if you are under 18. If you are having a party and your guests are under 18, you must get permission from their parents or guardian before you serve them alcohol. Your parents could be fined as much as $15,700 or could even go to jail if they don’t have permission to serve minors alcohol.

You and your parents also have a responsibility to take care to ensure those at your party are safe and not harmed. Your parents would be expected to supervise the party and to prevent excessive drinking and other safety risks.
 
However, the person who gives you the alcohol will be breaking the law, unless:
 
•    they are your parent or guardian, or your parent has told someone else they can give you alcohol; and

•    they are supervising you properly.
 
Whether you were properly supervised will depend on:
 
•    how much alcohol you were given;

•    over how much time it was given;

•    whether you were also eating food;

•    how old you are;

•    whether you were drunk.
 
Otherwise, there are heavy penalties for the person who gives you the alcohol.

Drinking on licensed premises

 Licensed premises are public places that have been given a licence 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, have, or be given alcohol in these places, even if you’re with your parents. You’re also not allowed to even be there unless there is a designated signposted area and you’re either having a meal or with your parents. If you are caught, you can be:
 
•    given a warning, a formal caution; or
•    choose to go to court (where you may be fined up to $1,570 if found guilty).
 
It is up to the police whether to give you a warning or caution. 

 

Additional information

 If you would like more information, you may like to visit:
 
•    Tasmania Police

•    Tips for drinking responsibly





This page was last updated in January 2017.


NCYLC would like to express thanks to the law clerks and volunteers who assisted with the preparation of this material: Shareen Dhillon, James McGrath, Trishala Shah, Isabelle Youssef.