Is it legal for parents in Idaho to let minors drink at home? Here’s what the law says - East Idaho News
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Is it legal for parents in Idaho to let minors drink at home? Here’s what the law says

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BOISE (Idaho Statesman) – If you went to parties in high school, it generally didn’t take very long to figure out which kind of student everyone was: one who didn’t drink, one whose parents thought they didn’t drink, one who was allowed to drink, and one who could only drink with their parents.

No matter which kind of parents you had, you could tell who was who by hanging out with them one time.

But have you ever wondered about the legality behind parents who let their teenagers drink with them?


It turns out it is entirely legal in Idaho for a minor, aged younger than 21, to possess alcohol under their parent or guardian’s permission and supervision while in a private residence, but it is still illegal to consume it. The law also states that minors possessing alcohol with a parent or guardian are limited to beer and wine.

But it would be illegal to extend that courtesy to their child’s friends. Only with a parent or legal guardian’s permission and supervision is underage alcohol possession allowed in Idaho.

This is outlined by state law, and failing to abide by them is considered a misdemeanor.

Idaho also has a zero-tolerance policy on minors possessing or even being under the influence of alcohol in public, according to the Alcohol Policy Information System, a government-run tool for alcohol research and information.

Idaho is also one of just five states that do not offer exemptions for minors drinking alcohol for religious, medicinal or research purposes. The other four states are Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire and West Virginia.


While it may be safe for minors to possess beer and wine with their parents, Idaho is still one of the strictest states for underage alcohol consumption. For example, Idaho’s neighbor, Washington, makes exceptions for medicinal purposes, religious context and viticulture education and research.

The Evergreen State lets underage viticulture students — those studying grapevine cultivation — taste wine for educational purposes.

Outside of what’s allowed by law, a first-time offender will receive an infraction, which in Idaho entails a fine of up to $300 but does not constitute a crime or criminal record.

A second violation will result in a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no more than $2,000 and up to 30 days in jail. A third or more offense is punishable by up to $3,000 in fines and up to 60 days in jail.