Alcohol and the law

The laws on selling and buying alcohol are clear, and violating those laws could result in arrest, prosecution and fines.

Selling alcohol to someone who is drunk 

It is illegal to sell alcohol, or attempt to sell alcohol, to a person who is already drunk. It is also illegal to allow alcohol to be sold to someone who is intoxicated.

Should this happen, those who could face prosecution include:

  • anyone who sells alcohol at the premise
  • the premises licence holder and the designated premises supervisor 
  • any member or officer of a members club who could have prevented the sale
  • anybody who attempt to buy alcohol for the drunk person

Breaking the law could result in a fine of up to £1,000. If the convicted person is a personal licence holder, they could lose their licence.

Disorderly conduct

It is illegal to knowingly allow disorderly conduct on licensed premises.

If it occurs, the staff, licence holder, designated supervisors, any member or officer of a club or a temporary event notice holder could be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000.

It is also illegal to refuse to leave a licensed premises when ordered to do so by staff or police.

Anyone who fails to cooperate when asked to leave because of their disorderly behaviour could be arrested and prosecuted. If convicted they could receive a fine up to £200.

Selling to children

Selling alcohol to anyone under age 18 is illegal in England and Wales in all circumstances. Members club and non-profit organisations are not exempt from this restriction.

The maximum fine for selling or supplying alcohol to children is £5,000. Personal licences can be suspended or forfeited at first offence. 

More about the laws on alcohol and underage drinkers.

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