Important Laws concerning
Legal Age for Drinking/Serving Alcohol
You must be 21 to consume alcohol, but in employment situations that involve serving or selling alcohol, a person may be 18 years of age.
Open Container Laws
Tennessee allows passengers in a vehicle to consume alcohol, but it is not legal for the driver to do so.
‘Per se intoxication’ means a driver has chemical test results for alcoholic consumption of .08 percent or more BAC (blood-alcohol content). The state needs no further evidence than this to convict a driver of DUI.
If a driver is convicted of DUI with a BAC that is .20 percent or more above the legal .08 percent limit, that driver faces substantially harsher penalties.
Underage drivers are discouraged from drinking and driving by ‘zero tolerance laws.’ Any driver under the age of 21 with a BAC that is .02 percent or higher face DUI penalties.
If you provide alcohol and/or a place to drink it to a minor:
You could face criminal charges:
-Fines up to $3500
-Up to 11 months, 29 days in jail
-Loss of your driving privileges
You could also be sued.
Legal Age for Purchasing Tobacco
You must be 18 years of age to consume/purchase tobacco products in TN.
If you distribute any tobacco product to a minor:
-1st offense: warning letter
-2nd offense: fines up to $500
-3rd offense: fines up to $1000
-4th or Subsequent Offense: Fines up to $1500
TN Code Ann. 39-17-1504 (1999), 39-17-1509 (1999), 39-17-1551 (1994)
It is unlawful for any person to drive or to be in physical control of any automobile or other motor driven vehicle on any public roads and highways of the state, or on any streets or alleys, or while on the premises of any shopping center, trailer park or any apartment house complex, or any other premises which is generally frequented by the public at large while:
a. Under the influence of any intoxicant, marijuana, narcotic drug, or drug producing stimulating effects on the central nervous system; or
b. The alcohol concentration in such person's blood or breath is .08% or more.
TN Dram Shop Law
This law creates civil liability for selling/serving alcohol to persons causing injury. The TN Gen. Assembly has found that the consumption of alcoholic beverage or beer, rather than the furnishing of alcoholic beverage or beer is the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated person. Nevertheless, establishments, servers, bartenders and managers can be held liable and ordered to pay a judgement to a person who has suffered personal injury or death if a jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the sales by such person of the alcoholic beverage or beer was the proximate cause of personal injury or death sustained and that such person:
a. Sold the alcoholic beverage or beer to a person known to be under the age of 21 years and such person caused the personal injury or death as the direct result of the consumption of the alcoholic beverage or beer so sold; or
b. Sold the alcoholic beverage or beer to an obviously intoxicated person and such person caused the personal injury or death as the direct result of the consumption of the alcoholic beverage or beer so sold.
SALES TO MINORS
-Selling to anyone under the legal age is a crime! The legal age to purchase or consume alcohol is 21! Anyone who sells, furnishes, disposes or gives, or causes to be sold, furnished, disposed of, or given, any alcoholic beverage under age commits a Class A misdemeanor.
-Any person under the age of 21 who purchases, attempts to purchase, receives, or has in such person's possession in any public place, any alcoholic beverage, commits a Class A misdemeanor.
-Exhibiting False Identification is a crime! Any person under the age of 21 who knowingly makes a false statement or exhibits false identification to the effect the licensee is 21 years or older to any person engaged in the sale of alcoholic beverages for the purpose of purchasing or obtaining the same commits a Class A misdemeanor. Penalties for violation of this section may include fines, community service, and imprisonment, as well as loss of driving privileges.
A business cannot legally confiscate false identification, but is urged to contact local law enforcement or a TABC agent.
*Taken from TOPSHELF RBS publication