The law

As alcohol is a drug there are a few laws
we must all abide by or we could end up being cuffed by the police.

The Law

Under 5 It is illegal to give an alcoholic drink to a child under 5, except under medical supervision in an emergency. 14 or 15 You can go anywhere in a pub, but cannot buy or drink alcohol. Under 18 It is against the law for anyone under 18 to buy alcohol . It is illegal for adults(over 18's) to buy alcohol on behalf of under 18's. In the new licensing laws, the only exception is for 16 or 17 year olds who are allowed to drink beer, wine or cider at a meal out with adults. They may not buy the alcohol themselves. Buying alcohol for those under 18 Police have the power to charge those over 18 years old who knowingly buy alcohol for anyone under the legal drinking age; this is called proxy sales . Selling to those under 18 The laws say that it is against the law to sell alcohol to anyone under 18 years old. Drinking in public: Currently it isn't illegal to drink in public. However many areas have alcohol-free zones that target town centres and/or residential areas where there is a particular issue with drinking in public. Drink driving: Driving with more than 35 microgram’s of alcohol in 100 millilitres or 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood; or 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine is a criminal offence as is failing to give a sample. Don’t confuse the drink drive rule with units as they are not linked! Yes, it is confusing so the best thing to do is avoid drink altogether if you need to drive.


Penalty for drink driving:Anyone convicted of drink driving may be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months and fined up to £5,000. They could even face a prison sentence of six months.
Selling to people under 18:Penalties for serving under-age customers are severe – the shop can suffer fines of up to £10,000 and have their licence reviewed while staff may suffer an £80 fine.
Drinking in public:Police have powers to confiscate alcohol from you if you are drinking in public and they can then contact your parents. There is a maximum fine of £500 if you refuse to co-operate.

Counterfeit/ illegal alcohol

Within the UK, illegal alcohol is being sold all the time; this is also known as illicit, fake or counterfeit. This alcohol tends to be cheaper and will be presented in a bottle branded similar to the real thing. However if you look closely, most often it can be identified as fake. The liquid inside will be a mixture of chemicals to make it look and taste similar. Some of the illegally made vodka has been found to contain high levels of methanol, which is used to make anti-freeze and some fuels. Drinking high doses of it can cause various health issues which can include dizziness, breathing difficulties and even blindness. Counterfeit vodka often has a strong acetone smell, similar to nail varnish. Trading Standards recommends that you look for small mistakes and discrepancies which will distinguish between real brands of alcohol and fakes. Look out for spelling mistakes on the label, check whether all bottles are filled to the same level, whether the label is straight, and also that all the bottles look the same.

What can you do about it?

If you are aware of any underage or illegal sales of alcohol you can report it anonymously to Dudley Trading Standards by calling the 24 hour confidential voicemail facility on 01384 814600. Whilst they may not be able to inform you of the outcome, be assured that all information will be acted upon.
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