Alcohol

This site attempts to collect the most recent information about substance abuse in NE TN. If you can't find what you are looking for, please ask; or send information that can be made available on this site.



Alcohol is still the most abused substance by our youth and young adults
Parent's The Anti-Drug has a great fact sheet on alcohol.

Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)

The TABC licenses wine and liquor, and regulates establishments that sell alcohol on- or off-premise. (Local governments regulate beer sales.) 

If a business is caught selling to minors, the clerk and the business can be criminally charged. Under a new law, if a minor is caught on premise with alcohol, the establishment can be charged even if the alcohol was "handed off" by another person.

  • Possession is prohibited with no exceptions.
  • Consumption is prohibited with no exceptions.
  • Internal possession is not explicitly prohibited.
  • Purchase is prohibited, but youth MAY PURCHASE for law enforcement purposes.
  • Furnishing alcohol to minors is prohibited with NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • Minimum Ages for On-Premises Servers and Bartenders:
    • Beer: 18 for both servers and bartenders
    • Wine: 18 for both servers and bartenders
    • Spirits: 18 for both servers and bartenders
  • Minimum Ages for Off-Premises Sellers:
    • Beer: 18
    • Wine: 18
    • Spirits: 18
  • False Identification for Obtaining Alcohol
    • Provision(s) targeting minors:
      • Use of a false ID to obtain alcohol is a criminal offense
      • Penalty may include driver's license suspension through a judicial procedure
    • Provision(s) targeting retailers:
      • Licenses for drivers under age 21 are easily distinguishable from those for drivers age 21 and older
      • Specific affirmative defense - the retailer inspected the false ID and came to a reasonable conclusion based on its appearance that it was valid
  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits for Youth (Underage Operators of Noncommercial Motor Vehicles)
    • BAC limit: 0.02 - a BAC level above the limit is per se (conclusive) evidence of a violation.
    • Applies to drivers age 16 or above.
    • Applies to drivers under age 21.
  •  Use/Lose: Driving Privileges
    • Tennessee has two Use/Lose laws:
           1. Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:
    • Underage purchase
    • Underage possession
  • Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 21
  • Authority to impose driver's license sanction is mandatory
  • Length of suspension/revocation: 365 days
             2. Type(s) of violation leading to driver's license suspension, revocation, or denial:
    • Underage purchase
    • Underage possession
    • Underage consumption
  • Use/lose penalties apply to minors under age 18
  • Authority to impose driver's license sanction is mandatory
  • Length of suspension/revocation: 365 days

  • Prohibitions Against Hosting Underage Drinking Parties
    • Social host law is not specifically limited to underage drinking parties.
    • The action by underage guest that triggers violation: Consumption
    • Property type(s) covered by liability law:
      • Residence
      • Outdoor
      • Other
    • Standard for hosts' knowledge or action regarding the party: KNOWLEDGE - host must have actual knowledge of the occurrence