Why NOT to mess with Under 21’s in America? Buy NO Alcohol, Cigarettes

In Living in US by KumarUpdated : 5 Comments

When I was in school, I went on a weekend camp trip sponsored by university with mixed age group of students…there were students ranging from freshmen (18 years) through graduate students (21 or older).  I had a great time socializing and we all ended up exchanging contact info of one another. It just happened that after a month or so, I get a call from one of them, who was under 21, asking if I can buy some alcohol for them and come to their house party. I knew it was illegal to buy alcohol to minors and politely said an excuse and got out of the situation…As a student or professional you may come across similar situation, let me try to explain some of the consequences and how you can be cautious.

Consequences of serving alcohol to Under 21 year olds

As an international student/ professional in US, just out of your ignorance or shy, you may not question the age of your friends/ new acquaintances… in some situations they may ask you to pick up (buy) some alcohol or cigarettes for them if you are going to their place just to hang out or for a party. In case, the friends who you bought alcohol for were under 21, you are in deep trouble.

Unless the person(under 21) you buy alcohol to is your child or spouse, you may have to pay $2000 fine or 6 months imprisonment or both.  Check Alcohol Serving rules . The violation can vary by state…it is illegal. Also, similar is the case with buying cigarettes for under 18 or 19 year olds depending on state. Check the Texas laws for tobacco. Bottom line, NEVER ever try to buy or sell anything like alcohol or cigarettes to someone whom you do not know.

Socializing situations in School or out of school that you need to be cautious.

When you are in school, you might get an invitation for a house party. You may meet someone in the library (I met many new people in library) and become friends with them and they might invite you for a party…You may someone through your current friends and get invited for their house party…you may meet someone in a social club or organization in school… If you are out of school, you may meet someone in a bar…someone while playing sports, some other social activity or out-door activity…etc. Most of the times, the party may involve booze, so be careful.

Tips to handle these situations / verify age ?

Typically as internationals we may not be able to judge the right age of other people, especially if they are from different race…It can be very awkward to directly ask the age at the first time…. here are some tips you can use to ask the age gracefully.

  • Ask their year in school. If they say are undergrad and say freshmen they will be around 18. You do the math based on what they say. If they are grad students they may be 21…but double check
  • Another way is to ask them which year did they graduate from high school. They will be around 18 when they graduated.
  • Check their facebook or other social networking profile or check their friends info who went to same high school…
  • You can take your international ID and ask them to see how their ID looks and look at the date of birth on it.
  • You can ask their friends or get the age of friends in same class.
  • You can directly ask the age too, it can be awkward…but worth asking.
  • If you do not know the age, just gracefully say some reason and get out of situation.

There may be many tips, above are some that I can think of…in any case, better be safe than sorry…Never ever try to buy alcohol for under 21 aged students. In case of doubt, just say NO for such offers.

Can you think of any tips to get out of situation? Any personal experiences to share ?

Image  credit: http://www.kvoa.com/images/news/stock/Underagedrinking.jpg


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Comments ( 5 )

  1. elena

    lol, im Greek and you have no idea whats happening in my country. Teenagers 13-17 can drink as much as they want and everywhere. Most bar/club owners make deals with the Police so that they never check their clubs. You can buy both alcohol and cigarettes from any Market. No ID checks. I am telling you it is AWESOME. The funny part, is that GREECE doesnt even have a High rate of people dying or whatever due to alcohol unlike America. I find this so funny. ΜΟΝΟ ΕΛΛΑΔΑ ΡΕΕ!!!

  2. Cody W

    OMG it’s not a big deel to drink, if they want cigs or alcohol they’ll get it ans if a 18 or 19 year old wants to drink I don’t see a problem!
    e.g. in italy or austria 16 year old ppl can get hard liquor and cigs legally everywhere and in whole europe you’ll get alc and cigs /w 16 to 18.
    That’s the reason why I don’t see a problem in buying some stuff for 17-20 year olds…

  3. Your Immigration Lawyer

    This list is very incomplete. Let me supplement it with what I perceive as common problem among foreign nationals new to the U.S.

    1. Do not shoplift. Don’t think you can get away with it because you don’t see anyone looking. They are. You will be caught.

    2. Do not touch woman’s breasts or posteriors without permission. While it may be true that American woman are more free than those in your home country, that doesn’t mean you can grab them at will. This is a very serious offense and the laws are enforced rigorously.

    3. Do not hit your wife. In fact, don’t even hit, grab or violently take anything associated with your wife. If the police come (and they will if she dials 911) someone has got to be arrested and it most likely will be you. It doesn’t matter if your wife doesn’t want you to be prosecuted. They will subpoena her if necessary and if she refuses to testify they will read what she told the police into the record and you will be convicted and possibly lose your status.

    4. For wives – do not call 911 unless you really want your husband arrested and criminally prosecuted. It is standard policy in many communities that the police MUST make an arrest on a domestic violence call and the prosecutors MUST prosecute. You can’t tell the police / prosecutor /judge later on that you changed your mind and you just want to forget about it. Wives in dependent immigration status should think carefully about this – if their husband is deported because of a “domestic violence” then you will be too. But do what you have to do if you really think he deserves to go to jail. Just don’t change your mind later on because it probably won’t matter.

    5. Don’t pick up prostitutes on the street – at least not a good looking one. Very simple rule – if she’s pretty, she’s a cop. If you are interested in that sort of thing, put your computer skills to work and use the internet!

    I could go on, but I think I’ve probably alienated enough people already. Welcome to America, the land of the free- and the prosecuted. Biggest difference between our country and yours – the laws really are enforced here. Really. Take my word for it – you DON’T want to find out for yourself.

    1. A European

      Have you never been outside of the US??!?! You have no idea what other countries are like, do you?? It may be true that in some European countries the law is more lenient but it is enforced just as much as in the US! Just get out of your isolated, arrogant country and see the world as it really is. Don’t make generalisations and think that people from any other country in the world would e.g. hit their wife or sexually abuse women without expecting any punishment! Next time, think before you post bullshit comments!

      1. Prius

        Chill European. By “foreign” he meant “Indian”. And the sad truth is that it’s not uncommon for husbands to abuse their wives in India. And for women to be molested. Let’s just say that if you’re a female in India, don’t walk around alone at night. Police there don’t take rape cases too seriously.

        The guy you raged at doesn’t even sound like a typical American. He made it sound like a wife needs to put up with her husband abusing her, and that it’s ridiculous to expect guys to keep their hands to themselves. He sounds like he’s been raised in a different social atmosphere.

        And people, if you’re even considering breaking any of the Immigration Lawyer’s rules… don’t even come to the US. Except for number 4. Girls, if you’re husband is threatening you physically, you need to protect yourselves. Even if that means he gets prosecuted.

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