- If you’re under 18, it’s against the law for you to buy alcohol. It’s also against the law to use a fake ID to try and buy alcohol or get into a pub, club or bar.
- If you’re under 18, it’s generally against the law to be on licensed premises.
- If you’re caught breaking the law, you could be fined, given a caution or warning.
- There are no laws that make it a crime to drink alcohol supplied by your parents in a private home BUT if you’re having a party and serving alcohol to under 18’s, you need permission from people’s parents.
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 or supply alcohol to you.
What if I am under 18 and someone sells me 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 $1,400 if you are convicted).
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 license, photo card, or passport showing that you are over 18).
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 $7,000 if the matter goes to 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 $1,400 if you are caught. 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, 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 it’s a specially 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 $1,400 if convicted).
It is up to the police whether to give you a warning or caution.
Drinking on private premises
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 before you serve them alcohol. Your parents could be fined as much as $14,000 or go even go to jail.
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.
In deciding whether you were properly supervised, the court will look at:
- how much alcohol you were given;
- over how much time it was given;
- whether you were also eating food;
Otherwise, there are heavy penalties for the person who gives you the alcohol.
Drinking in public places
It is against the law for you to have opened alcohol, or drink alcohol, in the following places:
- Glenorchy Council Memorial Gardens
- North Hobart Cultural Park and Stake Park.
At certain times (usually after 10 pm) it is illegal to have open alcohol or drink at:
- Parliament House Grounds;
- Hobart Rivulet Linear Park
If the police have a reason for thinking you bought the alcohol illegally, it can be confiscated from you (wherever you are) and disposed of. You can also be fined $280 for drinking in public..
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This page was last updated on 10 November 2014.